(WOIO) - Former Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell, the man responsible for moving the team to Baltimore, has died.
David Modell confirmed his father died peacefully of natural causes Thursday morning. He was 87.
Former Ravens president David Modell issued this statement:
"Sadly, I can confirm that my father died peacefully of natural causes at 4 a.m. this morning. My brother John Modell and I were with him when he finally rejoined the absolute love of his life, my mother Pat Modell, who passed away last October.
"'Poppy' was a special man who was loved by his sons, his daughter-in-law Michel, and his six grandchildren. Moreover, he was adored by the entire Baltimore community for his kindness and generosity. And, he loved Baltimore. He made an important and indelible contribution to the lives of his children, grandchildren and his entire community. We will miss him."
The Cleveland Browns issued the following statement:
"The Cleveland Browns would like to extend their deepest condolences to the entire Modell family."
According to 19 Action News Sports Director Tony Zarrella, the Browns have no plans to hold a moment of silence to honor Art Modell before Sunday's season opener.
In a controversial move that earned him the title of "Most Hated Man in Cleveland" from Browns fans, Modell relocated the team to Baltimore following the 1995 NFL season and renamed them the Ravens.
Modell purchased the Browns in 1961 for $4 million dollars. During his ownership, the team won 11 division titles and the 1964 NFL championship.
After moving the franchise to Baltimore, Modell sold a small minority interest to Maryland businessman Steve Bisciotti. He eventually sold controlling interest to Bisciotti and currently holds a 1% share in the team.
His wife of 42 years, Patricia, died last year.