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.
Here’s to Tom Benson... one of the true great owners in the NFL. The city gonna March for you... You left your mark, my man. Let the second shut down Nola! #ripTomBenson#geauxSaints pic.twitter.com/gmr9vY9Yow
— Anthony Mackie (@AnthonyMackie) March 15, 2018
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.
So many great memories! From the first time we met, handwritten notes in my locker to being Super Bowl XLIV Champions. He will be missed but his legacy will live forever on what he did for a team, a city, and the NFL! https://t.co/R71St4NeJJ
— Garrett Hartley (@GHartley5) March 15, 2018
Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Benson's "unrivaled commitment to our city knew no bounds."
My prayers are w/ Gayle & Benson Family on passing of Tom Benson. Tom’s commitment to winning extended beyond football & basketball. Through his support of the arts, education, faith-based causes, our veterans and more, Tom put our local community first in so many ways. @Saints pic.twitter.com/RJeunI4uyK
— Mitch Landrieu (@MitchLandrieu) March 15, 2018
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."
ROGER GOODELL STATEMENT ON DEATH OF SAINTS OWNER TOM BENSON pic.twitter.com/dWABFJop31
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) March 15, 2018
The New Orleans City Council said the city is mourning a great loss.
— NOLACityCouncil (@NOLACityCouncil) March 15, 2018
John DeShazier, a writer for NewOrleansSaints.com, said Benson's impact is "hard to quantify."
Hard to quantify Tom Benson’s impact. RIP Mr. B.
— John DeShazier (@JohnDeShazier) March 15, 2018
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.”
— NFL (@NFL) March 15, 2018
Governor John Bel Edwards is holding a press conference at 5 p.m. Thursday about the death of Tom Benson.
Tom Benson generously supported Louisiana communities and causes, especially through the cancer center at Ochsner. With the Saints, he brought inspiration and excitement to New Orleans. Laura and I extend our heartfelt condolences and prayers to Gayle and the rest of his family. https://t.co/rn3bvXJSXG
— Bill Cassidy, M.D. (@BillCassidy) March 15, 2018
RIP Mr. Benson you will be missed pic.twitter.com/1ksdRMy7ob
— Reggie Bush (@ReggieBush) March 15, 2018
The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame mourns the loss of one the most influential figures in state sports history. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the 2014 LSHOF inductee. Rest in peace, Mr. Benson. https://t.co/68H1dgz479
— Louisiana Sports HOF (@LaSportsHall) March 15, 2018