DETROIT — Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch, who founded the Little Caesars Pizza empire, has died. He was 87.
Family spokesman Doug Kuiper says Ilitch died Friday at a hospital.
Ilitch and his wife opened their first Little Caesars restaurant in suburban Detroit in 1959, and the business eventually grew into the world’s largest carry-out pizza chain.
Ilitch paid a reported $8 million for the Detroit Red Wings 1982, and the team won at least four championships under his ownership.
A decade later, Ilitch paid $85 million for the Detroit Tigers and began pumping money into player salaries. The Tigers advanced to the World Series in 2006, but lost to the St. Louis Cardinals.