George Steinbrenner, who rebuilt the New York Yankees into a sports empire with a mix of bluster and big bucks that polarized fans all across America, died Tuesday. He had just celebrated his 80th birthday July 4.
Steinbrenner had a heart attack, was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, Fla., and died at about 6:30 a.m, a person close to the owner told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not disclosed those details.
His death was the second in three days to rock the Yankees. Bob Sheppard, the team's revered public address announcer from 1951-07, died Sunday at 99.
For more than 30 years, Steinbrenner lived up to his billing as "the Boss," a nickname he earned and clearly enjoyed as he ruled with an iron fist.
He was known for feuds, clashing with Yankees great Yogi Berra and hiring manager Billy Martin five times while repeatedly clashing with him. But as his health declined, Steinbrenner let sons Hal and Hank run more of the family business.