(Olympia Entertainment)

Ron Ilitch Died From Dangerous Drug Combo, Tests Show

Fentanyl overdoses are an epidemic.

July 03, 2018 - 7:12 am

DETROIT (AP/WWJ) — Tests show Ron Ilitch, whose family owns the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers, died in February from a dangerous mix of drugs.

The Detroit News reports that Ilitch's death was attributed to "drug intoxication," including fentanyl. He was the 61-year-old son of Mike and Marian Ilitch. Besides sports teams, the family owns the Little Caesars pizza chain.

Ron Ilitch was found dead in a hotel room in Troy in suburban Detroit. A sister, Denise Ilitch, says the family "continues to grieve" the "tragic and untimely loss."

Troy Police Lt. Russ Harden says fentanyl overdoses are an epidemic.

Family patriarch Mike Ilitch, a beloved local figure, died in 2017 at age 87, almost exactly one year before his son.

Ron Ilitch struggled throughout his life with drugs: Ilitch allegedly had crack cocaine on him at The Riviera motel at McNichols and Grand River on the city’s west side during an incident that landed him in jail in 2014. Police said that Ilitch was also with a prostitute at the time.

He eventually pleaded guilty and was ordered to spend a year on probation and to undergo substance abuse treatment. At the time, he told the judge the arrest was a “big wake up call.”

Brother Chris Ilitch was appointed the head of the family empire, which includes Olympia Entertainment, the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings and Little Caesars pizza.

Chris Ilitch released a statement on his brother’s passing, saying, “On behalf of my mother Marian Ilitch and our entire family, I want to express our sadness and grief at Ron’s passing. We’re devastated about this loss, and we ask for respect of the family’s privacy during this difficult time.”