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Pelicans and Saints owner Tom Benson dies at the age of 90

A fixture within the New Orleans sports community for the past several decades, New Orleans Pelicans and New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson has died at the age of 90.

The Saints themselves made the announcement on Thursday.

“Tom Benson, 90, passed away peacefully Thursday, March 15 at Ochsner Medical Center with his wife Gayle Marie Benson at his side. Mr. Benson was hospitalized with the flu Feb. 16,” the team’s official press release read.

As noted, Benson had been hospitalized for about a month with the flu prior to his passing.

Benson purchased the Saints from then owner John Mecom back in 1985 after he learned that there were plans to move the team to Jacksonville and has been controlling owner ever since. The backdrop of this was feud between him and his family over control of the Saints.

Back in 2012, Benson purchased the then New Orleans Hornets and rebranded them the New Orleans Pelicans. As with the Saints, he maintained controlling ownership of that franchise up until his passing.