Bowlen, who stepped away from regular ownership duties several years ago, had been battling Alzheimer's for the last few years. "Pat Bowlen was the heart and soul of the Denver Broncos".
John Elway, the former Broncos quarterback and the team's current general manager and president of football operations, called Bowlen a "mentor and friend" in a statement. Bowlen will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio this August, and he was already inducted into the Broncos Hall of Fame back in 2015.
This past October, as the grooming of Brittany moved forward, Pat's brother Bill Bowlen widened the family schism with a lawsuit created to put the Broncos in Beth's hands. During that span, the team won three Super Bowl rings and Bowlen became synonymous with a pair of catch phrases. Problem was, the trustees openly favored Brittany Bowlen for this role, although she was seen as being too young (she's in her late twenties) and not sufficiently seasoned to take over immediately.
"Heaven got a little bit more orange and blue tonight", the statement said. What he did for this team, this city and the entire National Football League will never be matched. "That's all you can ask for in an owner - yet he did more", Elway said.
Pat Bowlen, shown here in 2011, oversaw a consistent run of success in Denver. "He said I didn't need a pass, either: 'Your face is your credential'".
Bowlen, who lived to be 75-years-old, has been honored from every corner of the NFL, including a statement from Commissioner Roger Goodell that read, in part, "Pat personified all that's right about the NFL and is extremely deserving of this summer's recognition as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame". Until then, Ellis, one of three trustees, is doing so in a "What would Pat do?" sort of way.
After his diagnosis, Bowlen released control of the team to his family trust.
By then, of course, Bowlen wasn't the man in charge. He also served on multiple other committees, including: NFL Films, Compensation, Pro Football Hall of Fame, NFL Network, Finance, and worldwide and Workplace Diversity.
The Broncos were subsequently put in the hands of trustees that now consist of CEO Joe Ellis, team counsel Rich Slivka and attorney Mary Kelly. I will forever be grateful for his friendship and support over the years.
Bowlen is survived by Annabel and seven children: Amie, Beth, Patrick, Johnny, Brittany, Annabel and Christianna.