BOSTON (CBS) — The NFL is mourning the loss of longtime Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, who passed away late Thursday at the age of 75 following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft released the following statement about Bowlen’s passing, calling him a gentleman and a trusted partner.

“There was no owner or person like Pat Bowlen. I loved him,” Kraft said. “Today is a very sad day for all who knew him. When I came into the league in 1994, I worked closely with Pat on the NFL’s broadcasting committee and he offered advice and guidance to help me in every way. It was an example of the kind of man he was. He was relentless in his competitive desire to win, but he was always a gentleman, a professional and a trusted partner. Pat’s pursuit of excellence, both on the field and in the community, made the league better. He was a leader both in his success and in his kindness and humility. I will forever be grateful for his friendship and support over the years. My heartfelt condolences go out to his beloved wife Annabel, his children, the Denver Broncos and their fans. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy will endure through the team he built, the community he loved and his well-deserved recognition as a Pro Football Hall of Famer.”

Bowlen turned the Broncos around after buying the franchise in 1984. They had a record of 354-240-1 and went to seven Super Bowls under his watch, winning three titles (1998, 99 and 2016). Bowlen will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 3.

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