Little Caesars Pizza co-founder mike ilitch lived a long and prosperous life, becoming one of the most beloved (and rich) people in the state of Michigan. His life came to an end on Friday when he passed away at the age of 87, according to his family. He died at a local hospital, a quiet end to a loud life.

Business legacy

The biggest contribution Ilitch initially gave to the world was fast pizza. In 1959, he founded what would become Little Caesars Pizza with his wife in Garden City, Michigan. The business would expand to thousands of restaurants throughout the world, a business still going strong today.

The husband-wife duo formed a private holding company, which is now run by their children.

Ilitch also gave his hometown of Detroit a leg to stand on when they needed it the most. He was at the forefront of revitalizing the city that fell into deep disarray during the economic recession, helping the city rebound through business deals, philanthropy, and a warm love for the city. The Fox Theatre, one of the city's most important meccas of art and culture, was fully restored in 1988 after needing to close off seating due to disrepair; Ilitch is the one who headed those efforts.

Sports franchises

For many, Ilitch is best known for being the owner of several Detroit sports franchises, most notably baseball's Detroit Tigers and hockey's Detroit Red Wings.

The Red Wings, in particular, became a beacon of success, rising to the ranks of the NHL's elite. They won four Stanley Cup championships under the ownership of Ilitch and have made the playoffs for 25 straight seasons, a streak that may ironically end this year.

Ilitch played baseball as a young child, so it was exciting for him to purchase the Tigers in 1992.

While the team never won a World Series under his ownership, he was eager to open his checkbook to try to bring a title to the city. In doing so, he kicked off one of the greatest eras in the history of Detroit Tigers baseball, growing even more beloved in the city he called home his whole life.