New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson Dies at 90

The businessman, philanthropist, and sports franchise owner passed away after at battle with the flu

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Getty Images/Chris Graythen

New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson died Thursday afternoon at the age of 90 after a battle with the flu, according to the Saints website.

The businessman started off as a bookkeeper for a Chevy dealership and invested his money in car dealerships, local banks, and sports teams to amass a net worth of 3 billion dollars, according to Forbes

Benson purchased the Saints and the Pelicans in 1985, and 2012 respectively. The owner played an influential part in turning both franchises around and helping with recovery relief following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

As a philanthropist, Benson donated to a number of faith-based and educational causes in the New Orleans and South Texas communities. 

"Under Mr. Benson’s direction his businesses and sports teams annually have put millions of dollars back into the community in financial support, in-kind donations, charitable appearances and the donations of goods and services." the Saints said on their website. 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell thanked Benson for his "legendary" contributions to the NFL and the city of New Orleans Thursday afternoon. 

"Tom loved New Orleans, where he was a generous and caring philanthropist. Within the NFL, he was a true leader among NFL owners." Goodell said in a statement.

"I know that the entire NFL family joins me in extending our most heartfelt condolences to Gayle Benson and the entire Saints organization." 

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