NEW ORLEANS -- The entire city is mourning the loss of Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson, who passed away Thursday (March 15) at 90 years old.
Statements and tributes to Benson's life began pouring in as news of his death spread quickly over social media.
Saints Quarterback Drew Brees says Benson will "forever have a pretty unbelievable legacy in New Orleans."
"I think from where he’s taken this team in the mid-80s to where we are now. Certainly over the last 12 years since I’ve been here and my experience with him, I cannot think of a better owner, someone who wants to win more than he does, someone who’s willing to sacrifice and give to the team whatever it takes to put us in the best position to succeed," Brees said.
Governor John Bel Edwards remembered Tom Benson as a friend, who at 90 years old, "was full of life."
"His mark will be left on New Orleans and Louisiana for generations. As we travel the streets of New Orleans, we’ll think of Tom Benson. As we cheer for the Saints, for the Pelicans, we’ll think of Tom Benson," Edwards said.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Benson's "unrivaled commitment to our city knew no bounds."
Archbishop Gregory Aymond released the following statement about Benson:
"On behalf of the people of God I extend my condolences and prayers to Mrs. Benson, his close friends, and coworkers. Tom Benson was a man who showed incredible charity and generosity to others and had a strong love for God. It was important to him to live his faith. As he has touched so many lives we ask God to give him eternal life in his kingdom."
The New Orleans City Council said the city is mourning a great loss.
John DeShazier, a writer for NewOrleansSaints.com, said Benson's impact is "hard to quantify."
U.S. Sen. John Kennedy released the following statement about Benson:
“My prayers are with Tom’s wife, Gayle, and their family during this difficult time. A true New Orleanian, Tom Benson ensured the survival of the Saints and the Pelicans through hard work, perseverance, and passion. He’s left a lasting legacy.”
Governor John Bel Edwards is holding a press conference at 5 p.m. Thursday about the death of Tom Benson.