DENVER — The news of longtime Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen’s passing spread quickly Friday morning after he died late Thursday night.
Bowlen battled Alzheimer’s in the later years of his life; the disease forced him to step down from his day-to-day duties with the team.
Bowlen’s wife, Annabel, recently announced that she, too, is battling Alzheimer’s.
Tributes to the Broncos’ biggest fan began rolling in across the internet rapidly from fans, players, politicians and rival teams.
Broncos Manager John Elway, who famously played for and won Super Bowls under Bowlen’s ownership, issued the following statement:
“Pat gave me so much and he was someone that I always looked up to. He gave this team everything we needed to be the best and compete for championships, and the focus was always on football. That’s all you can ask for in an owner—yet he did more. He was a tremendous mentor to me and a tremendous friend. Pat was a great listener, always asking what was going on, and I learned so much from watching him. He was a terrific leader. Whether things were going right or things weren’t going right, he would always let you know what we needed to get better. He did a great job of applying pressure at the right times but always trusted his football people to make the right decisions. Other than his family, nothing meant more to Pat than making sure the Denver Broncos were successful. What he did for this team, this city and the entire NFL will never be matched. His shoes will never be filled. I will miss Pat greatly and will always treasure the times we had together. We’ll continue to take care of his team as if he were here today. My deepest sympathies are with Annabel and the entire Bowlen family.”AlertMe