CHICAGO - Rocky Wirtz, the chairman of the Chicago Blackhawks, has died. He was 70 years old.
The team announced his death Tuesday night, saying, "It is with deep sadness that the Chicago Blackhawks organization joins the Wirtz Family in mourning the sudden passing" of Wirtz.
Wirtz became chairman in 2007 when his father, Bill Wirtz, passed away. Wirtz was also half-owner of the United Center with Chicago Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.
Under Wirtz's leadership, the Blackhawks won three Stanley Cup championships in six years. Wirtz was behind televising the Blackhawks' home games, which began a new era and brought new energy to the team and organization.
"Above all else, Rocky was most proud to lead his family's commitment to numerous civic and charitable organizations. His dedication to the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation and its mission to create a healthier, smarter, more secure world for families in and around Chicago was unwavering. The Foundation has donated millions of dollars to dozens of organizations focused on youth programs, education, housing and health and wellness," the Blackhawks said in a statement.
Wirtz is survived by his wife, four children, and six grandchildren.
Mayor Brandon Johnson released the following statement:
"Rocky Wirtz was a champion in every sense of the word — in family, in business, in sports ownership, and most important, in life. From his stalwart leadership of the Wirtz Corporation and multitude of corporate ventures, to the Blackhawks’ miracle run of three Stanley Cup champions in six seasons, he exemplified class and excellence at every turn.
As successful as he was as a chairman and owner, however, he was an even greater man, giving a United Center security officer or parking attendant the same amount of respect he would offer a fellow magnate or CEO. That is who Rocky Wirtz was, and he will be dearly missed.
My heart is with the Wirtz family, his colleagues and the entire Blackhawks organization during this difficult time. This is a sad day, and a tremendous loss for our city."