A long-standing pillar of my home town has passed:
H. Wayne Huizenga, whose restless entrepreneurial spirit led him to become the only U.S. businessman to three Fortune 500 companies, has died.
He was 80.
“He succumbed to a decades-long battle with cancer. He was treated for cancer for years,” said Bob Henninger, executive vice president for Huizenga Holdings. “He fought a great fight. He died quietly.”
Huizenga passed away at 10 p.m. Thursday in his Fort Lauderdale home, he said, and service arrangements are being made.
“Wayne was our founder, and we would not be the company we are today without the spirit, drive, energy, and vision he gave us,” said AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson in a statement. “I lost both my mentor and my best friend, H. Wayne Huizenga. Alice and I will miss the sparkle in his eye we came to love.”
Huizenga used his wealth and persuasiveness to bring baseball and hockey to South Florida. In the early 1990s, he owned three of South Florida’s professional sports teams: the Miami Dolphins, Florida Panthers and Florida Marlins.
According to the Forbes 400 list of wealthy Americans, Huizenga’s net worth of $2.8 billion in 2017 made him the 288th wealthiest person in America.”
I remember when the Panthers went to the Stanley Cup in the “year of the rat.”
That was awesome, though they ultimately lost the Cup. Even Wayne Huizenga’s wife Marti was throwing rats on the ice:
And the next year we got to cheer for the Marlins in the World Series.
And he tried his best with the Dolphins as well, but the Fish just couldn’t get their act together.
Rest in peace, Wayne. Thanks for the memories.