Owner of Blue Jays and Toronto's Rogers Center dies at 75

Updated: December 2, 2008, 5:32 PM ET
Associated Press

TORONTO -- Ted Rogers, owner of the Toronto Blue Jays, died at his home on Tuesday. He was 75.

[+] EnlargeTed Rogers
AP Photo/The Canadian Press/Adrian WyldBlue Jays owner Ted Rogers also helped Toronto secure a number of Buffalo Bills home games starting this year.

The founder of Rogers Communications Inc., Canada's largest cable television and mobile phone company, was treated in October for an existing heart condition, the company said in announcing his death.

Rogers Communications owns the Blue Jays and their home at the Rogers Centre, several television stations and an array of other media properties including Maclean's and Chatelaine magazines.

"Ted Rogers was one of a kind who built this company from one FM radio station into Canada's largest wireless, cable and media company," said Rogers Communications chairman and acting chief executive officer Alan Horn.

Rogers, one of Canada's wealthiest people, earlier handed over his corporate duties to Horn.

Rogers bought the Blue Jays in 2000. This year, he arranged for the Buffalo Bills to play eight games over five years in Toronto.

"Ted was a true visionary and a giant in the communications field," said Bills owner Ralph Wilson. "Obviously, he played an integral part in the Bills Toronto Series and it makes me very sad that he won't be here to share in the historic game with us this weekend in the building that bears his name. He will be missed by many, many people for a very long time."

After making an early investment in wireless technology, Rogers' company eventually became Canada's largest cell phone company. Rogers Communications is worth about $18 billion and has 24,000 employees.

"This man was one of Canada's all-time top business leaders," said Blue Jays outgoing president Paul Godfrey. "He is going to be sadly missed. We all became better leaders and better CEOs because of Ted Rogers."

In 1991, Rogers was chosen an officer of the Order of Canada, one of the country's top honors.

He is survived by his wife, Loretta, and four children.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press