George Gund III, the former owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Barons, died on Tuesday night after succumbing to a battle with cancer. He was 75.
He was born in Cleveland on May 7, 1937 and once considered to be one of the most powerful bankers in Cleveland, Ohio. The long-time philanthropist and business man had reportedly been undergoing treatments for cancer over the last 18 months.
George, along with his brother Gordon, bought the Cavaliers basketball franchise from Ted Stepien in 1983 for $20 million. They were the namesake of Gund Arena, the complex which housed the Cavaliers following the expansion of the Gateway project in the mid-1990s. They would eventually sell the team to Quicken Loans founder and billionaire Dan Gilbert in 2005.
Geoffrey Gund, president of the board of trustees, issued a statement on behalf of The George Gund Foundation:
“The deep sadness that my family feels at the passing of my brother George is shared by the entire extended family of The George Gund Foundation and, I am sure, by those who knew George through the Foundation’s work,” the statement read. “He served faithfully and with honor as a trustee of the Foundation for many years carrying out the wishes of our father, his namesake, to contribute to human well-being and the progress of society. He enthusiastically supported the Foundation’s long-term and patient investments in the transformation of Cleveland and he also personally engaged in that effort.”