According to the Arizona Republic, Richard Heckmann died Saturday in California at the age of 76.
Heckmann had been involved with the NBA since 2004, when he was part of an investment group that purchased the Suns for $401 million. He saw Steve Nash win multiple MVP awards and witnessed a very fun period of Phoenix basketball.
The cause of his death, per the Palm Springs Desert Sun, was from complications related to multiple system atrophy, a degenerative neurological disorder similar to Parkinson’s disease.
He was a successful businessman and philanthropist. Not only was he the co-owner of the two basketball teams but he was also the founder, director and part-owner of multiple businesses including Callaway Golf, K2, Nuverra Environmental Solutions and US Filter.
Richard was also an Air Force veteran and actively supported the American Cancer Society, the Palm Springs International Film Festival and several orphanages in Haiti. The UC Riverside Heckmann International Center for Entrepreneurial Management was named in his honor after he donated the funds to build it.
His wife Wendy, who had been with him for 16 years, described the type of man he was.
“He was charismatic, loving, kind, fun, the life of the party, super intelligent,” she said. “His brain was working like crazy until the very last breath.”
Richard was also survived by seven children.
Suns owner Robert Sarver released a statement on his passing.
“Dick’s philanthropic spirit coupled with his sharp business acumen was what separated him from the pack. The legacy he built in the business world is only surpassed by his legacy of improving the community and his charismatic approach to life. I will deeply miss my friend and his kindness and presence.”
Rest in peace, Richard. My condolences to his family and to Mr. Sarver.