Longtime Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson died at the age of 95, team president Russ Brandon announced on Tuesday.
Wilson brought football to Buffalo in 1959, spending $25,000 to found the Bills, which was part of the initial group of the American Football League. Of course, the Bills and the AFL eventually merged with the NFL.
“I speak for everyone within the Bills organization when I say that we are all suffering a deep and profound sadness with the passing of our Hall of Fame owner Mr. Wilson," Bills president and CEO Russ Brandon said in a statement. "We have lost our founder, our mentor, our friend, and this is a very difficult time for us all. We extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Mary, his daughters Christy and Dee Dee [Edith], his niece Mary and his entire family.
"Mr. Wilson had a relentless passion, a deep love for his Buffalo Bills, the City of Buffalo and the National Football League. He also loved the Bills fans and all of the people of Western New York who embraced the Bills"
Wilson, a World War II vet, was born on Oct. 17, 1918 in Columbus, Ohio. Before becoming the first owner of the Bills, he held a minority stake in the Lions.
Wilson is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
It's been a tough week for the Bills. In addition to Wilson's death, it was reported that Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly's oral cancer as returned.
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.
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