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New Orleans Pelicans and Saints owner Tom Benson passes away, leaves wife Gayle Benson to assume team controls

A sad day in Louisiana sports history.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans-Press Conference Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

After a lengthy battle with the flu, Tom Benson has passed away peacefully at the Oschner Medical Center. He was 90 years old and leaves behind his wife, Gayle Marie Benson, an adopted daughter, Renee Benson, and Renee’s two children, Rita and Ryan LeBlanc.

Benson was reportedly the richest man in Louisiana, worth approximately $3.0 billion, and the owner of New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans. In addition, he was affiliated with dozens of foundations and was known for donating millions of dollars to education, medial research and other charitable causes.

At this present time, Gayle Benson is expected to take over the reins of both the Pelicans and Saints, a position she’s supposedly been groomed for since marrying Tom Benson in 2004. Dennis Lauscha, the President of both New Orleans professional sports franchises, and Mickey Loomis, the General Manager of the Saints and head of basketball operations of the Pelicans, are expected to advise Gayle closely in the future.

The prevailing thought among many is that Tom Benson saved professional basketball and football in the state of Louisiana. Without his ownership, both franchises might have been relocated elsewhere, potentially leaving behind a sad vacuum.

Prior to age catching up with him, Tom Benson was once an exuberant owner, who loved to celebrate during the better moments. If you’re unaware, give the following video a watch and learn about The Benson Boogie!

Rest in Peace, Mr. B, you’ll definitely be missed.