Malcolm Glazer, the billionaire who led a controversial takeover of Manchester United, has died at the age of 85.
The Glazer family purchased United for £790m in May 2005 amid protests from the Premier League club’s fans.
However, they went on to win five Premier League titles and the Champions League under his ownership.
The New York-born American’s sons, Joel and Avram, took over the day-to-day running of the club after their father suffered a stroke in April 2006.
“The thoughts of everyone at Manchester United are with his family tonight,” said a spokesman for the Premier League club.
The Glazer family retain a 90% share in United – split equally among Glazer’s six children – with 10% listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Glazer, who never actually stepped foot inside Old Trafford, gradually bought out United shareholders between 2003 and 2005.
A statement from the 20-times champions last night said: “The thoughts of all at the club are with the family at this time.”
Glazer’s death was announced by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NFL franchise the family also owns. “The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are saddened to announce the passing of owner/president Malcolm Glazer earlier this morning,” read the statement. “Known among his league peers as a pioneering thinker, Glazer infused his team and employees with the determination and dedication to be the best in the NFL. Glazer’s commitment to building a championship organisation has provided the foundation for continued success, on and off the field.
“Mr Glazer’s long-established estate succession plan has assured the Buccaneers will remain with the Glazer family for generations to come. Linda Glazer, along with their five sons and daughter, will continue to own and operate the team as they have throughout the family’s ownership.”
Despite the hostility to Glazer’s purchase of United, his ownership coincided with the most successful era of the club’s history. Since 2005 United have won five Premier League titles, the 2008 Champions League and reached European Cup finals in 2009 and 2011.