Blackhawks chairman and principal owner Rocky Wirtz has died at age 70.
The news broke via The Score early Tuesday evening with several other outlets confirming with their own sources soon after.
The Wirtz family has also confirmed the news, releasing the statement below:
The Blackhawks just released their own statement, which reads, in part:
It is with deep sadness that the Chicago Blackhawks organization joins the Wirtz Family in mourning the sudden passing of our Chairman W. Rockwell “Rocky” Wirtz today at the age of 70.
The Chicago Blackhawks have been in the Wirtz family since 1954 when Rocky’s grandfather, Arthur Wirtz, purchased the team. Rocky grew up within the walls of the storied Chicago Stadium and after taking over as Chairman of the Blackhawks in 2007, he led a renaissance of the organization that brought in a new generation of fans and reshaped the Blackhawks fandom as it stands today.
Danny Wirtz, the Blackhawks CEO and the son of Rocky Wirtz, also released this statement:
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also chimed in with his thoughts below:
“The National Hockey League family is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of W. Rockwell ‘Rocky’ Wirtz.
“Devoted to family and the Chicago Blackhawks, Rocky was a native son of Chicago and an accomplished businessman. Rocky took over control of the Blackhawks in 2007 and almost immediately restored the passion and following of this storied, Original Six franchise.
“Rocky’s focus on connecting with the Club’s fans and improving the team’s performance on the ice rekindled Chicago fans’ love affair with their hockey team and built a modern dynasty – the Blackhawks won Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013 and 2015.
“On a personal level, Rocky was a dear friend whose counsel I consistently sought. He was a highly respected member of the Executive Committee of the League’s Board of Governors whose wisdom and camaraderie were valued by his fellow owners.
“The NHL sends its sincere condolences to Rocky’s wife, Marilyn; his children, Danny, Kendall and Hillary; Marilyn’s daughter, Elizabeth; and their six grandchildren. He will be missed terribly.”
Wirtz took over ownership of the team after the death of his father, Bill Wirtz, in 2007, and became the becoming the fifth owner in the franchise's 81-year history. Under his ownership, the Blackhawks saw their greatest period of success in modern history with three Stanley Cup wins in six years.
[UPDATE] Some more specifics in this report from Ben Pope of the Sun-Times:
We'll provide more updates to this post as the news unfolds.