BOSTON (CBS) — Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers chairman and president Dan Rooney passed away on Thursday at the age of 84. Rooney spent nearly his entire life around the Steelers franchise; he was born one year before his father Arthur Rooney bought the team, served as president from 1975-2002, and took over as chairman in 2003.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft issued the following statement after the news of Rooney’s passing:
“I am deeply saddened to hear the news regarding Dan Rooney. When I first entered the NFL, Dan and his family were so gracious to me and my family. They provided guidance on how to build a winning organization, both on and off the field. As important as winning was to Dan, he never lost sight of the importance of giving back to his community. My goal was to build a team that could sustain a winning tradition just like the Rooney family had with the Pittsburgh Steelers. I feel the success we have had as an organization is directly tied to the lessons I learned from Dan. He represented the heart and soul of the National Football League.
In my experiences with him at the NFL meetings, I always admired the way he conducted himself, with great humility, dignity and kindness. He was a leader who was respected by everyone associated with this wonderful game. My condolences go out to his wife Patricia, his son Art, as well as his entire family, the many players who played for him and the countless Steeler fans who will mourn his loss.”