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Yankees owner George Steinbrenner died this morning in Tampa, Fla., after suffering a massive heart attack.
In a statement released by spokesman Howard Rubenstein, Steinbrenner's family mourned the loss of a man they called "a visionary and a giant in the world of sports," who just celebrated his 80th birthday on July 4.
"He was an incredible and charitable man. First and foremost he was devoted to his entire family – his beloved wife, Joan; his sisters, Susan Norpell and Judy Kamm, his children, Hank, Jennifer Jessica and Hal; and all of his grandchildren," the statement read.
"He was a visionary and a giant in the world of sports. He took a great but struggling franchise and turned it into a champion again."
Steinbrenner's micromanaging on the field and penchant for pursuing high-priced free agents -- and later taking a key role in escalating their salaries -- earned him a reputation as one of the most controversial figures in sports.
During Steinbrenner's 37-year ownership of the club, the longest tenure in Bronx Bombers' history, the Yankees won 7 World Series titles and 11 penants.
The Ohio-born executive known as "The Boss" leaves behind his wife of 54 years, Elizabeth Joan Zieg, and their four children -- Hank, Hal, Jessica and Jennifer.
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