TORONTO (AP) - Ted Rogers, founder of Canada's largest cable-television and mobile-phone company and owner of the Toronto Blue Jays' baseball team, died in his Toronto home Tuesday morning at the age of 75, the company said.
Rogers, long listed as one of Canada's wealthiest people, had been hospitalized in October for an existing heart condition. Despite his failing health, Rogers continued to live up to his reputation of being a relentless businessman.
"He feared dying young like his father but was consumed by work and put strain on his health, even working from the hospital bed more than once," Rogers Communications Inc. said in a statement released after his death.
Bespectacled, tall and sandy-haired, Rogers was known as a workaholic, a demanding boss and a stubborn leader.
In his recent autobiography, "Relentless: The True Story of the Man Behind Rogers Communications," Rogers described the resistance he faced when he asked his board of directors to invest $500,000 Canadian dollars ($403,000) in wireless technology in 1983.
"Every board member voted against me, even my wife," he wrote.
"They forced me to put my own money on the line, which I did. I just knew wireless was the next big thing and I wasn't about to miss it."
Rogers' investment turned into Canada's largest cell phone company. Today Rogers Communications employs 24,000 people and is worth about 18 billion Canadian dollars.
Rogers Communications said its board plans to form a special committee to lead a search for internal and external candidates to succeed Rogers as chief executive. In the interim, chairman and acting CEO Alan Horn will also lead the company's office of the president, it said in a statement on Tuesday.
The list of potential CEOs is headed by Ted Rogers' son Edward, president of Rogers Cable, and daughter Melinda, a vice president of the corporation.
Its shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.
Rogers Communications' other assets include Maclean's and Chatelaine magazines and Rogers Centre, home of the Blue Jays. The company bought the club in 2000 and Rogers Centre, formerly known as the SkyDome, several years later.
In 1991, Rogers was named an officer of the Order of Canada, one of the country's top honors.
"No Canadian of his generation achieved more and gave more back than Ted Rogers. He was a visionary, an entrepreneur and a nationalist. People are often described as great Canadians. Ted Rogers represented the gold standard when it comes to great Canadians," said Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader and former Rogers Communications' executive John Tory.
Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press
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