The Chicago Bears announced on Saturday the loss of former chairman Michael McCaskey, who passed away after his lengthy battle with cancer at the age of 76. McCaskey is the son of Bears principal owner Virginia Halas McCaskey.
The McCaskey Family, which has owned the franchise since 1920, issued the following statement regarding his passing.
"Mike was already successful in every sense of the word when he took over for George S. Halas after the passing of 'Papa Bear' in 1983. We are grateful to Mike for overseeing arguably the greatest team in NFL history, and for his many years of service to the Bears and to us. The oldest of eleven siblings has many duties thrust upon him, not all of them pleasant, yet Mike handled them all with grace and patience.
"Although Mike's passing was not brought on by the novel coronavirus, our family, like so many people, is not able to gather and grieve together at this time. Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. Our focus in the coming days will be to celebrate Mike's life, and be whatever source of support we can be to John and Kathryn and those they love."
McCaskey took over for his grandfather, George S. Halas, as President & CEO in 1983, and held that position until 1999 when he became the team's chairman. His brother, George, succeeded him as chairman in 2011. With McCaskey at the helm, the Bears won six NFC Central division titles, made eight playoff runs and hoisted the Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl XX in 1985. McCaskey was voted NFL Executive of the Year by a group of his peers after the championship victory.
Bears President & CEO Ted Phillips, who replaced McCaskey in 1999, said the following:
"My heart is heavy as I think about Michael McCaskey and can't believe he is no longer with us. His fierce love of the Bears was unmatched as was his intellectual capacity and thirst for knowledge on a myriad of subjects. Michael displayed a professorial presence that could be challenging, but was also inspiring.
"I will be forever grateful for the many opportunities for growth that he provided me, as well as for his trust and support. Michael always strived to do things the right way with high character and with the Bears best interests always paramount. Michael was a good man, gone much too soon. He presided over the only Super Bowl Championship Chicago Bears team in 1985, and I know he is still smiling about that magical season. God bless Michael and his family."
McCaskey was the oldest of Ed and Virginia McCaskey's 11 children. He is survived by his two children and one grandson.