TAMPA (FOX 13) -
Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer passed away today at the age of 86.
Glazer purchased the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back on January 16, 1995, after the death of former owner Hugh Culverhouse. Glazer was the team president and his sons, Bryan, Joel, and Edward, are co-chairmen.
The reclusive Palm Beach businessman had been in failing health since April 2006 when a pair of strokes left him with impaired speech and limited mobility in his right arm and leg.
Under the direction of Malcolm Glazer and the Glazer family, the Buccaneers were transformed into consistent winners. The years of frustrating football under Hugh Culverhouse disappeared.
With the Glazers in charge of the team, the Bucs went to the playoffs seven times, winning five playoff games and, of course, capping off that success with the team's first-ever Super Bowl championship in San Diego, when they beat Oakland in 2003.
Malcolm Glazer made his mark with the Buccaneers as an NFL football franchise and then he turned his attention to a different football franchise, Manchester United. He purchased the team in 2005 and his efforts and investment pushed that club to five Premier League titles (2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2013), as well as the 2008 Champions League title.
Born Aug. 25, 1928, in Rochester, New York, the son of a watch-parts salesman, Glazer began working for the family business when he was 8 and took over the operation as a teenager when his father died in 1943.As president and CEO of First Allied Corp., the holding company for the family business interests, he invested in mobile-home parks, restaurants, food service equipment, marine protein, television stations, real estate, natural gas and oil production and other ventures. Forbes ranked him, along with his family, as tied for No. 354 on the world's richest people list with a net worth at an estimated $4.2 billion.
He purchased the Bucs for a then-NFL record $192 million in 1995, taking over one of the worst-run and least successful franchises in professional sports. And while Glazer once said he probably overpaid by $50 million, the value of the team has more than quadrupled since he assumed control.
In an era when many owners of professional teams attract nearly as much attention as the athletes, Glazer was content to allow three of his sons handle daily operation of the Bucs and rarely granted interviews or visited the team's offices and training facility.
The Buccaneers say that Malcolm Glazer's long-established estate succession plan has assured the team will remain with the Glazer family for generations to come. Linda Glazer, along with their five sons and daughter, will continue to own and operate the team as they have throughout the family's ownership.
In one of its boldest moves as NFL owners, the Glazer family fired Tony Dungy as coach after the 2001 season and paid a hefty price -- four draft picks and $8 million cash -- to the Raiders for the opportunity to sign Jon Gruden to a contract.
The move paid off right away. Gruden led the Bucs to their first NFL title the following season, and Glazer joined in the celebration in the locker room.
"He came from heaven and he brought us to heaven," Glazer said. "We were waiting for the right man and the right man came -- Jon Gruden."
The family fired Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen after the 2008 season, when the team completed one of the biggest collapses in NFL history, losing four straight games following a 9-3 start to miss the playoffs. The slide continued in 2009 under new coach Raheem Morris as the Bucs went 3-13, their worst record since 1991.
Before he bought the Buccaneers, Glazer made failed bids to land an NFL expansion franchise for Baltimore and purchase the New England Patriots, San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates. He also tried to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers from Rupert Murdoch before turning his attention to Manchester United.
An intensely private man who cherished maintaining a low profile and spending much of his free time with family, Glazer also bickered with four older sisters over his mother's estate -- a legal battle that lasted more than a decade.
As Bucs owner, he was one of the driving forces behind construction of a state-of-the-art stadium built mostly with taxpayer money and also sank millions of his own into a new training facility and team headquarters that opened in August 2006.
He also left his mark in Tampa with the Glazer's Children's museum in downtown.
"He also recognized that in owning a team you have an obligation to give back to the community to be as active off the field as on the field," said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
He creating the Glazer Family Foundation in 1999, which has donated millions to organizations throughout central Florida.
"The community had a big loss with him dying. It's very sad," said Bucs fan Debbie Hediger
A private family funeral service will be held for Glazer. The opportunity for others to remember and celebrate his life will be announced at a future date.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to All Children's Hospital, St. Joseph's Children's Hospital, and Shriners Hospitals for Children - Tampa.
(Reporting from FOX 13's Josh Cascio and material from the Associated Press were used in this report.)
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