Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner Dies at 80

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Longtime owner of the New York Yankees George Steinbrenner died Monday at a hospital in Tampa, Fla., from a heart attack.
 
The legendary baseball mogul who managed to rebuild the Yankees into a sports empire had just celebrated his 80th birthday.

"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," the Steinbrenner family said in a statement.
    
For more than 30 years, Steinbrenner lived up to his nickname "The Boss," ruling his team with an iron fist.

Steinbrenner was also known for his feuds, with some of his more famous confrontations including clashes with Yankees great Yogi Berra and Yankees manager Billy Martin.

Despite being in fragile health for years, Steinbrenner pushed forward demanding championships from his team right up to end. The Yankees won six World Series titles during his reign.

"Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing," Steinbrenner was fond of saying. "Breathing first, winning next."

However, the demanding Yankees owner was also well-versed in the art of giving, having donated millions anonymously to charity.

"He was an incredible and charitable man," Steinbrenner's family said. "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.

Steinbrenner's death comes two days after the Yankees' public-address announcer Bob Sheppard also died.

The family said funeral arrangements will be private, but that an additional public service would be held later.

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