By Joe Pantorno
New York Yankees co-owner Hank Steinbrenner has died at the age of 63 after a long battle with an illness, the team announced on Tuesday.
The illness was not related to the coronavirus.
“Hank was a genuine and gentle spirit who treasured the deep relationships he formed with those closest to him,” the Steinbrenner family released in a statement. “He was introduced to the Yankees organization at a very young age, and his love for sports and competition continued to burn brightly throughout his life. Hank could be direct and outspoken, but in the very same conversation show great tenderness and light-heartedness. More than anything, he set an example for all of us in how comfortably he lived enjoying his personal passions and pursuits. We are profoundly saddened to have lost him and will carry his memory with us always.”
Hank was the eldest son of Yankees’ long-time owner, George Steinbrenner, who purchased the team in 1973 and helped return the franchise to the mountaintop of Major League Baseball.
When George Steinbrenner’s health began to fail before his death in 2010, Hank and his brother, Hal, began to take over the team.
Hank quickly assumed the role of an outspoken Yankees owner, much like his father, regularly creating headlines for the tabloids whenever he stepped in front of the microphone.
But Hank’s illness forced him to take a step back from the spotlight in recent years, allowing Hal to become the figurehead of the Yankees’ ownership group.
During that time, he continued to be active in the family horse-racing business in Ocala, FL and in 2016, he founded Steinbrenner Racing alongside his son, George Michael IV, which now competes on the Indy Car circuit.
He is survived by four children, daughters Jacqueline and Julia, and sons George Michael IV and John, one granddaughter, Anabel, and his siblings, Jennifer, Jessica and Hal, and their families.
This story first appeared on amNY.com