Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson dies at 95

Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:08pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Ralph Wilson, the founder and owner of the National Football League's Buffalo Bills, has died at the age of 95, the team said on Tuesday.

Bills president Russ Brandon announced his passing at the NFL Annual Meeting in Florida, saying Wilson died peacefully at his Michigan home his family by his side.

His health had been failing for years and he had not been to a Bills game since 2010.

"I speak for everyone within the Bills organization when I say that we are all suffering a deep and profound sadness with the passing of our Hall of Fame owner Mr. Wilson," Brandon said in a statement released by the Bills.

"We have lost our founder, our mentor, our friend, and this is a very difficult time for us all.

"We extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Mary, his daughters Christy and Dee Dee (Edith), his niece Mary and his entire family."

Wilson owned the Bills for 54 years and was the last of the original American Football League owners. The AFL and NFL merged in 1970.

Under his ownership, the Bills won two AFL Championships in the 1960s and reached the Super Bowl four years in a row in the early 1990s, but lost each time.

Wilson was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.   Continued...

Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson (L) appears during a news conference with Bills NFL first round draft pick Leodis McKelvin, a defensive back from Troy University, at the Bills' fieldhouse in Orchard Park, New York, in this April 27, 2008, file photo. Wiepert/Files