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David Braley, owner of three Canadian Football League teams, dies at 79

Oct. 26 (UPI) -- David Braley, who was the owner of three Canadian Football League franchises and once served as the league's interim commissioner, died Monday. He was 79.

Braley died at his home in Burlington, Ontario, according to the B.C. Lions -- one of his teams. A cause of death wasn't given.

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"We share this news with the heaviest of hearts," Rick LeLacheur, president of the B.C. Lions Football Club, said in a statement Monday. "David has been a proud and fiercely loyal owner of our team, a champion of the Canadian Football League, and a leader for whom his love of our game and our country went hand in hand and spanned decades.

"We share our deepest condolences with his family, friends and admirers. One of his final acts of devotion to Canadian football was a clear expression of his desire that the stability of our club be maintained through a smooth transition following his passing. We will work closely with David's estate to follow that plan."

Braley was born in Montreal and became a wealthy businessman in Hamilton, Ontario. He entered the CFL in 1987 as owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who later became community-owned in 1990. He also owned the Toronto Argonauts from 2010-15. In 1997, he purchased the Lions.

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Braley, who was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2012, served as chairman of the CFL's board of governors and was interim commissioner of the league for most of the 2002 season. Last year, he received the Order of Canada for his contributions to the CFL and community leadership.

Current CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement Monday that Braley will "forever be remembered as a CFL legend." He added that Braley was "our champion in every sense of the word."

Braley's teams won four combined CFL titles, most notably the Argonauts' championship in the 100th Grey Cup in 2012.

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Richard "Dick" Thornburgh, former attorney general of the United States and former governor of Pennsylvania, takes a seat at the witness hearing after U.S. Chief Justice nominee Judge John Roberts testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on September 15, 2005. Thornburgh died on December 31 at age 88. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

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