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Manchester United and Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer dies aged 85

updated 8:32 AM EDT, Thu May 29, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Manchester United owner Malcolm Glazer dies aged 85
  • Glazer assumed control of NFL team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1995
  • The Buccaneers won their first Super Bowl crown in 2002
  • Despite loading the club with debt Man Utd have maintained their success

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(CNN) -- Malcolm Glazer, owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and English soccer club Manchester United, has died aged 85.

The NFL franchise released a statement on their official website announcing Glazer had passed away on Wednesday morning.

One of seven children, Glazer assumed control of the Buccaneers in 1995 and they went on to claim their first Super Bowl crown in 2002.

He bought English Premier League team Manchester United in 2005 in a controversial takeover that was heavily criticized by a large section of their fans for loading debt onto the club.

Read: The battle for Man Utd

Despite this discontent, the club continued to enjoy huge success on the field, winning five Premier League titles and one European Champions League crown under his stewardship.

"The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are saddened to announce the passing of Owner/President Malcolm Glazer earlier this morning at the age of 85," read the statement.

"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."

"A private family funeral service will be held for Mr.Glazer. The opportunity for others to remember and celebrate Mr. Glazer's life will be announced at a future date."

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Glazer took control of his family's business when he was just 15, and developed a wide portfolio of international holdings as it grew exponentially.

The Buccaneers had been perennial underachievers in the NFL prior to Glazer's takeover in 1995 but he transformed their fortunes and led them to a maiden Super Bowl title in 2002.

His Glazer Family Foundation, which was established in 1999, has donated millions to charitable causes in the Tampa Bay area.

Glazer suffered a pair of strokes in 2006, which impaired his speech and affected his mobility in his right arm and right leg. His sons have long been running both the Bucs and United.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell paid tribute to Glazer on his official Twitter account: "Malcolm Glazer was the guiding force behind the building of a Super Bowl-champion organization," he said.

"His dedication to the community was evident in all he did, including his leadership in bringing Super Bowls to Tampa Bay. Malcolm's commitment to the Bucs, the NFL and the people of the Tampa Bay region are the hallmarks of his legacy."

If Glazer was lauded by Bucs fans for his achievements it was a different story in England after his purchase of Manchester United in 2005.

United are one of the world's richest clubs -- behind Spanish pair Real Madrid and Barcelona in Forbes' most recent rich list with a value of $2.81 billion -- and are one of the globe's best-supported teams.

Glazer had to borrow money to complete his takeover, the deal plunging the club into over $1 billion worth of debt overnight, and installed his sons Bryan, Joel and Avram to the board.

Protests were widespread, fans burning effigies of Glazer outside the stadium, but despite this animosity United's success on the pitch endured.

Under the stewardship of Alex Ferguson, the club won five English Premier League titles after Glazer's takeover, as well as the coveted European Champions League crown in 2008.

But their fortunes nosedived after Ferguson retired at the end of the 2013/14 season. His replacement, David Moyes, lasted barely 10 months and was sacked with the club languishing in seventh.

Louis Van Gaal will take over after leading Netherlands to the World Cup in Brazil, with the club desperate for a top four finish next season and a return to the lucrative Champions League.

A statement on Man Utd's official website read: "The thoughts of everyone at Manchester United are with the Glazer family tonight following the news that Malcolm Glazer has passed away. He was 85.

"The news was announced earlier on the official website of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NFL franchise he acquired ownership of in 1995.

"Malcolm leaves behind his wife Linda, six children and 14 grandchildren. Staff at Manchester United extend deep and sincere condolences to them all at this difficult time."

Read: Moyes - from Chosen One to Sacked One

Read: Moyes' tenure by numbers

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