Former Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive died at the age of 77, the SEC announced Wednesday evening.
Slive passed away in Birmingham, Ala., where he lived with his wife of 49 years, Liz. The conference did not provide the cause of death. He stepped down as SEC commissioner in 2015 and was battling prostate cancer at the time.
Slive replaced Roy Kramer as SEC commissioner in 2002 and was credited with cleaning up the conference amid NCAA compliance issues as well as ushering it through a period of expansion and prosperity.
During his time as commissioner, the SEC became the nation's most powerful college football conference, winning seven straight national championships. Slive also helped the conference land lucrative television contracts as well as establish the SEC Network.
He also oversaw SEC expansion with the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri, and was instrumental in the creation of the College Football Playoff.
A native of New York, Slive served as the commissioner of Conference USA from 1995 through 2002 before becoming the leader of the SEC.
Current SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, who succeeded Slive in 2015, offered a statement regarding the passing of Slive.
"For me, it's about Mike for how he affected me. He was a friend before he was the boss, he was a friend while he was a boss and he was a friend after," Sankey said in his statement. "My heart goes out to Liz, to Anna, Judd, Abagail. He's a great person and I'm privileged to come to know him the way I did."