Former Bears chairman Michael McCaskey passes away at 76

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears are mourning the passing of one of their longtime leaders on Saturday.

Former chairman Michael McCaskey died on Saturday at the age of 76 after a lengthy battle with cancer.

“My heart is heavy. I can’t believe he’s no longer with us. His fierce love of the Bears was unmatched as was his intellectual capacity and thirst for knowledge,” Bears President Ted Phillips said in a statement. “Michael displayed a professorial presence that could be challenging but also inspiring.”

McCaskey became the Bears’ President in 1983 after the passing of his grandfather, George Halas. He is best known for clashing with former Bears head coach Mike Ditka before stepping down as chairman back in 2011.

McCaskey’s mother, the 97-year-old Virginia Halas McCaskey, is the current owner of the Bears. His brother, Ed, is the team’s current chairman.

Needless to say, this news hit the Bears’ organization and the McCaskey family pretty hard on Saturday.