DETROIT (WCMH) — Mike Ilitch, founder of Little Caesars Pizza and owner of the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings, died Friday at a Detroit-area hospital. He was 87.
His company, Ilitch Holdings, announced his death Friday evening.
“My father was a once-in-a-generation entrepreneur, visionary and leader, setting the tone for our organization and our family,” said Christopher Ilitch, President and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. “He made such a positive impact in the world of sports, in business and in the community, and we will remember him for his unwavering commitment to his employees, his passion for Detroit, his generosity to others and his devotion to his family and friends. Together my family and the company celebrate the tremendous man he was, and we will continue to work hard to uphold his remarkable legacy. I’m honored to have had the opportunity to work with him to nurture and grow our businesses, but mostly, I’m grateful to have called him my Dad.”
Ilitch founded Little Caesars in Garden City, Michigan in 1959.
The Ilitch companies include: Ilitch Holdings, Little Caesars Pizza, Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, the Detroit Red Wings, the Detroit Tigers, Olympia Entertainment, Olympia Development, Little Caesars Pizza Kits Fundraising Program and Champion Foods. His wife, Marian Ilitch owns the MotorCity Casino Hotel.