Jerry McMorris. (Denver Post file photo)
"It's a very sad day for the Rockies and for his family," Rockies owner Dick Monfort said.
McMorris had waged a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.
"Jerry was a very competitive and tough-willed person and he fought this disease longer than most people could," Monfort said.
McMorris bought a small company as a 19-year-old sophomore when he was at the University of Colorado, where he was graduated in 1962 with a degree in management. He turned his small firm - started with $7,000 from his father and three trucks operating between Denver and Golden - into a $400 million trucking giant, NationsWay Transport, serving all of North America.
But it was McMorris' crucial role ensuring that big-league baseball survived and thrived in Colorado that will be long remembered among area sports fans.
Read more of Patrick Saunders' story in The Denver Post.
"The Colorado Rockies family is deeply saddened by the passing of Jerry McMorris," Rockies Owner/Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dick Monfort said in a statement. "I believe it is fair to say without the efforts of Jerry there may have never been Major League Baseball in Denver. He will be greatly missed by us all."
"I am very saddened by the loss of my friend Jerry McMorris, whose efforts were integral to bringing Major League Baseball to Colorado in 1993. Under Jerry's leadership, the Rockies attracted more than three million fans in each of the club's first nine years and became a first-class franchise in a wonderful ballpark. Jerry quickly established himself as a leader within our industry, playing a key role on a number of our committees and serving not only the Rockies franchise but all of Major League Baseball very well," MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "On behalf of Jerry's many friends throughout the game, I extend my deepest condolences to his wife Mary and his entire family."
(Copyright 2012 The Denver Post)