Carolina Panthers founder Jerry Richardson died Wednesday at his home in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was 86 years old.
Richardson was celebrated for bringing the NFL to Carolina in 1995, but his tenure with the team ended after the 2017 season due to a scandal.
Richardson was forced to sell the team to Tepper for a record $2.275 billion after the 2017 season amid allegations of workplace sexual and racial misconduct.
He was fined $2.75 million by the NFL after a thorough investigation into the allegations following a Sports Illustrated article in which four former employees anonymously said they had reached a financial settlement with Richardson in exchange for their silence.
Prior to that, Richardson was revered for bringing the Panthers to the NFL in 1995 and helping the team reach the Super Bowl in 2003 and 2015. He served on some of the league’s most high-profile committees and became one of the most powerful owners.
John Fox, who led the Panthers from 2002 to 2010 and led them to the Super Bowl in 2003, told ESPN on Thursday that he and his family were “grateful” for the opportunity Richardson had given them.
Richardson was born in Spring Hope, North Carolina, in 1936. He attended Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he was a star tight end, and still holds the school record with 241 yards in a only game against Newberry College in 1956.
He was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in 1959 and caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Johnny Unitas in the championship game in 1959.
He started Hardee’s first franchise in Spartanburg and he eventually became a millionaire and used that money to buy the Panthers for $206 million.
No cause of death was given for Richardson’s death. In 2009, he received a successful heart transplant at Carolina Medical Center in Charlotte.
The family is planning a private funeral service. A public celebration of his life will be held at a later date.