It is a sad day for Pittsburgh Steelers fans. Dan Rooney, who was the former owner and chairman for the NFL team, has died. He was 84-years-old. The news was confirmed by the Pittsburgh Steelers via their official Twitter page and later picked up by several other outlets. No further details were released regarding his death.

The Rooney dynasty

Dan Rooney spent his entire life as a Steeler. His father Art Rooney is actually the founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He founded the team in 1932, back when it was known as the Pirates. Art went on to own and run the team until 1969, when Dan took over as owner and chairman of the team.

Before then, Dan learned all aspects of working for the team, including becoming the team’s water boy at the tender age of 12. He also served several other roles before taking over as owner. Dan went on to serve as the owner of the Steelers from 1988-2003. His son Art II took over in 2003 and serves as owner to this day.

During his tenure as owner of the Steelers, Dan also founded the "Rooney Rule," which allowed for at least one minority to get interviewed for a general manager or head coaching role in the NFL. This eventually allowed for women to get interviewed and serve a bigger role in the NFL.

As owner and chairman of the team, Dan gained the respect of not only his team, but others in the NFL as well.

Several other NFL teams, including the New York Giants, sent their condolences via press releases and social media. Members of the Steelers also left their condolences on social media.

Steelers head coach Bill Cowher left a beautiful tribute to Dan on his own Twitter page. He thanked him for being a mentor, friend, and for making him a better man.

Other interesting experiences

Before taking over as owner of the Steelers, Dan spent his youth playing High School football. He served as quarterback for North Catholic High School in Pittsburgh. Although he never actually played for the NFL, he was a highly-regarded player while in school.

Dan also had an interesting life outside of football.

In 2009, President Barack Obama nominated him to be the US ambassador to Ireland. He was sworn in later that year by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He resigned in December of 2012 and was later replaced by Kevin O’Malley in June 2014.

Dan's family ties

Dan is survived by his wife Patricia and six children: son Art and daughters Rita, Mary, Cathleen, Joan, and Patricia.