Gayle Benson issues statement thanking fans, city - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Gayle Benson issues statement thanking fans, city

Tom and Gayle Benson (Photo Courtesy of Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune) Tom and Gayle Benson (Photo Courtesy of Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

Tom Benson's widow, Gayle Benson, thanked the fans and city for their "unwavering devotion" to the Saints and Pelicans franchises Friday, one day after her husband died from complications related to the flu. 

In an statement on the Saints' website, Gayle Benson said she is wholly committed to making Tom Benson's hopes of more championships a reality.

The statement reads:

"While we are heartbroken by the loss of my husband, we are also tremendously grateful for the overwhelming love and prayers we continue to receive. Tom Benson’s love for his teams was rooted in his love for the fans. There was nothing he enjoyed more than greeting fans on game days, driving around training camp practices to shake hands or seeing so many loyal fans welcoming the team back from a road trip - win or lose. He felt a special connection to our incredible fan base because he truly felt like a fan himself - a hardworking, passionate New Orleanian who loved everything about his city. Following the Super Bowl victory, his first order of business was figuring out how he could share the Lombardi Trophy with as many of you as he could. He vowed that our trophy would be the most traveled, touched and photographed in the history of the NFL and ordered that a tour of the Gulf South be scheduled so that as many fans as possible could have their turn with it.

"To his very last day, Tom Benson’s greatest hope was to bring more championships to our fans. I want you to know we are more committed than ever to make his hopes a reality. We will never forget his belief in what truly powers our teams- our fans. I would like to assure you that we planned carefully for this day and, while my husband could never be replaced, I am blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful leadership team and staff and we will move forward successfully together. We cannot thank you enough for all of the joy you gave my husband and will continue to do everything within our power to make you proud of our teams and city.

"Thank you for your continued prayers and support as we celebrate my husband’s extraordinary life. Most of all, thank you for your unwavering devotion to our teams and city. I look forward to sharing many more special times together."

Mrs. Benson now owns the Pelicans and the Saints.

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