Chicago Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz Has Died at 70 — How Did He Die?


Jul. 26 2023, Updated 9:36 a.m. ET

Rocky Wirtz and Ray Chadwick in tuxedos.
Source: Getty Images

The gist:

  • Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz died at the age of 70.
  • No cause of death has been announced as of July 26, 2023.
  • The Blackhawks have been in the Wirtz family since 1954 when Rocky's grandfather Arthur purchased the team.
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News recently broke that Chicago Blackhawks Rocky Wirtz had died at the age of 70. Rocky had been the president of the Wirtz Corporation since 2007, when he inherited the title from his father, William. Rocky is often credited with helping the team return to prominence following his father's tenure, during which the team appeared to be deprioritized.

Now, following the announcement of Rocky's death, many want to know what happened to him, and what his cause of death was.

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United Center logo on the side of the stadium.
Source: Getty Images

What was Rocky Wirtz's cause of death?

Rocky's death was announced on the Blackhawks Twitter account, but no cause of death or location for his death was noted.

“Our hearts are very heavy today,” Danny Wirtz, Rocky’s son and the chief executive of the team, said in his statement announcing the news. “Our dad was a passionate businessman committed to making Chicago a great place to live, work, and visit, but his true love was for his family and close friends.”

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"He was a loving father, a devoted husband to Marilyn, a brother, a nephew, an uncle and a doting grandfather to his six remarkable grandchildren," the statement continues. "His passing leaves a huge hole in the hearts of many and we will miss him terribly.”

During Rocky's tenure running the team, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup three times in 2010, 2013, and 2015.

Rocky's grandfather purchased the team.

The Blackhawks have been part of the Wirtz family's portfolio since 1954 when Rocky's grandfather Arthur purchased the team after a successful career in real estate. Arthur also owned a furniture business and a hotel and was credited with using his financial might to help establish the NHL as one of the major sporting leagues in the U.S.

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After taking over the team from his father, who had refused to air most home games on TV and priced all tickets in the stadium at the same level the same, Rocky made some changes.

Among those changes were a return to more televised games and an adjustment in seating prices.

Jerry Reinsdorf, who owns the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago White Sox, issued a statement following the news of Rocky's passing.

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“This is just shocking news, and I am personally devastated,” Jerry said. “Rocky truly was a great man. We were far more than partners at the United Center. We were very close. He was a dear friend, and our trust, our bond, was unbreakable.”

The Blackhawks and Bulls share the United Center, which was built in the mid-1990s, as their home stadium.

Rocky's tenure as the owner of the Blackhawks was marred by scandal, though, when in 2021 it was reported that an accusation of sexual assault by a minor league player had been covered up by several Blackhawks executives. The team was ultimately ordered to pay $2 million in fines in relation to the incident, and both fans and some in the media have been vocal in feeling that the team should have received an even harsher punishment.

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