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Mike Ilitch: Billionaire Entrepreneur, Pizza Magnate And Detroit Icon

Jason Shubnell

Mike Ilitch died February 10 at the age of 87. He was in many ways the epitome of the American Dream.

Born to immigrant parents, Ilitch founded his own pizza company (Little Caesars) in 1959. It would go on to be the third-largest pizza chain in the nation. Along the way, he bought his beloved Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers, turning those franchises around with varying degrees of success.

Ilitch revolutionized the pizza business when he introduced the $5 Hot-N-Ready in 2004.

Watch the video below as we remember the positives and negatives of Mike Ilitch and his impact on Detroit.

"My father was a once-in-a-generation entrepreneur, visionary and leader, setting the tone for our organization and our family," said his son Chris Ilitch, President and CEO of Iltich Holdings. "He made such a positive impact in the world of sports, in business and in the community, and we will remember him for his unwavering commitment to his employees, his passion for Detroit, his generosity to others and his devotion to his family and friends."

At the time of his death, Ilitch was worth just north of $6 billion.

Image: Mike Mozart, Flickr

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