Mike Illitch, entrepreneur and owner of Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers, as well and pizza chain Little Caesars – has passed away at age 87 at a local hospital.
Mike Illitch was able to help return the Stanley Cup to Hockeytown, build both a new arena and a ballpark with a farris wheel, restore the grand Fox Theatre and introduce metro Detroit to the concepts of Little Caesars and “pizza-pizza”.
It all began with his first Little Caesars outlet in Garden City back in 1959 — where a pizza costed only $2.39. Illitch was married and survived by his wife of 61 years Marian and their seven adult children (Denise, Ron, Michael Jr., Lisa, Atanas, Carole, and Christopher).
Mike was alos a major personality and figure in the revival of downtown Detroit. In addition, he also operated city-owned Joe Louis, Cobo, and Little Casars arenas, among other smaller businesses, teams and restaurants.
Our thoughts are with the family, friends, and colleagues during this time.