The passing of Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt was met with heavy hearts around the Patriots and Revolution organizations on Thursday. Hunt, who was considered one of the most influential owners in league history and was instrumental in pushing the merger between the AFL and NFL, died Wednesday night after a lengthy bout with cancer. Hunt was 74.
"Lamar Hunt was a man of great integrity who was widely respected by his peers. He was genuine, kind and considerate. He always spoke from his heart," Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said.
"I think anyone that knew Lamar considered him a trusted friend. I know that I did and I will miss him greatly. He was a man who was passionate about sports, but always put his family first and was a loving husband and father. I offer my sincere condolences to Lamar's wife, Norma, and his sons, Clark and Dan."
Hunt was credited with coming up with the term "Super Bowl" around the time of the merger and Kraft recognized the lasting legacy he leaves behind.
"Lamar Hunt was a sports pioneer who took financial risks and made plenty of personal sacrifices for the benefit of sports during his lifetime. Many will remember him for his significant contributions to football and his impact on the NFL," Kraft said.
"But my introduction to Lamar came decades ago when I first purchased the professional tennis team, the Boston Lobsters. Lamar was one of World Championship Tennis' original promoters and I was proud to consider him one of my peers. Years later, when I purchased the New England Patriots, Lamar was one of the first to congratulate me during the financing-approval meetings. His support and friendship meant a lot to me and is something that I will never forget.
"Soon after, Lamar invested in Major League Soccer. His support of the MLS gave me the confidence to do the same. He will be remembered for always carrying himself with dignity and class. He was a sports pioneer, a genuine and trusted partner, a good friend and a loving family man. This is a sad day for everyone who knew Lamar."