Art Modell, 87, died of natural causes early Thursday morning at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
The former owner of the Baltimore Ravens had battled health problems over the last decade and was admitted into the hospital on Wednesday. No further details were given regarding his death.
Modell’s son, David Modell, said in a statement, “Sadly, I can confirm that my father died peacefully of natural causes at four this morning.”
He went on to say, “My brother, John Modell, and I were with him when he finally rejoined the absolute love of his life, my mother Pat Modell, who passed away last October.”
Art Modell was an NFL owner for more than four decades. In 1996, Modell created controversy by moving the original Browns franchise from Cleveland to Baltimore. Four years later, the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl, beating the New York Giants.
Modell also helped bring the league into the modern TV era by negotiating contracts with networks and serving as the president of the NFL from 1967-1969. He played an important part in the creation of Monday Night Football.
Art Modell sold the Ravens to Steve Bisciotti in 1999 and turned over full control of the team in 2004.
In a statement issued by the Ravens, Bisciotti said, “We will miss him so much. How lucky are all of us to have had Art in Baltimore. How fortunate I am to have had him teach me about the NFL. His generosity, his love, his humor, his intelligence, his friendship—we were all blessed by this great man.”
Also known as “Poppy,” he was a man deeply loved by his sons, his daughter-in-law and his six grandchildren.
The Baltimore community mourns his death and is forever grateful for bringing the game to the city.