Report: Billionaire Mike Ilitch in bad health as succession plan underway

Mike Ilitch
Mike Ilitch, 86.

Mike Ilitch, the 86-year-old billionaire who owns the Red Wings, Tigers and Little Caesars, is “extremely ill” and has been a no-show at recent events he’d normally attend, DetroitSportsRag.com reports.

The news comes less than a month after Mike and Maria Ilitch announced a leadership succession plan that eventually will place the business empire in the hands of one of their sons, Christopher Ilitch.

Jeff Moss, the reputable reporter behind DetroitSportsRag.com, broke news in March 2014 that Ilitch had colon cancer.

Today, he reports: “There have been clues in the last few weeks that Ilitch — who will turn 87 this July — might not currently be in the best of health. The billionaire did not show up for the Red Wings team picture in April. Then there was the oddly timed succession plan announcement that Chris Ilitch would eventually replace Mike and Marian Ilitch in their current roles managing the Ilitch Family Empire.”

Moss cited two sources who said Ilitch was in bad health.

The inevitable change in leadership could have rippling effects across Detroit. Crain’s Detroit reported last year that the Ilitches may sell the Tigers after Mike Ilitch is no longer at the helm. The family also owns the Motor City Casino, the Fox Theatre and many abandoned properties in the city, including a downtown theater, industrial buildings and apartments.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.