Hibernian’s chairman and majority shareholder Ron Gordon has died at the age of 68.
Gordon had recently revealed that he had been receiving treatment for cancer over the past year. Hibs announced his death in a statement to supporters on Tuesday afternoon.
The American businessman had bought the majority shareholding in 2019 and worked to improve the club’s standing as well as taking a central role in moves to improve the Scottish game.
Ben Kensell, chief executive of Hibernian, said: “Everyone at the club is deeply saddened at the news. Our thoughts are with Ron’s wife Kit, his sons Ian and Colin, and the rest of the Gordon family. Ron may have been our chairman and owner, but he was first and foremost a devoted family man with a close and loving family.
“We would ask that at this difficult time, the family’s privacy is respected as they mourn their loss.”
Kensell added that the Gordon family had stated their ongoing commitment to the club and their desire to follow through on long-term plans at Easter Road.
The chief executive added: “As part of that determination, we will hold our AGM in early March. There will be no further comment from the club or family at this time.”
Scottish Professional Football League chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “Everyone at the SPFL is shocked at this devastating news. Ron was one of the most decent, hard-working, straightforward and enthusiastic figures in our game.
“It was clear that Hibs very quickly became far, far more than a business venture for Ron – his obvious pride in being its custodian and his unstinting dedication to the club were the clearest evidence of how much he loved being involved in Hibernian FC.
“In only a few years, he benefitted Scottish football more widely as he gave selflessly of his time and his very considerable array of talents. On a personal level, the superb work he did to help drive forward the SPFL Strategy Review was of enormous benefit.
“He will be very sadly missed across the entire game.”
Murdoch Maclennan, chairman of the SPFL, said: “Everyone who dealt with Ron could see immediately that he was a man of enormous integrity, energy and vision.
“Having already achieved so much in his business life, he was an incredible force for good at Hibernian FC and in his role on the SPFL board. He believed fervently in teamwork and driving towards a common cause and was genuinely committed to the betterment of the entire game.
“The thoughts and condolences of everyone at the SPFL go out to Ron’s family and his many friends and colleagues at Hibernian FC at this very difficult time.”
Scottish football clubs sent messages of condolences following Hibs’ announcement. A message from the club’s Edinburgh rivals Hearts read: “The thoughts of everyone at Heart of Midlothian are with Ron’s family, friends and colleagues across the city at this desperately sad time.”
Dundee United tweeted: “The thoughts and condolences of everyone at Dundee United are extended to Ron’s family, friends and everyone at Hibernian FC at this sad time. Rest in peace.”
Aberdeen, another club who worked closely with Gordon in making recommendations to improve Scottish football, tweeted: “The chairman, board and everyone at AFC are deeply saddened by the news of Ron’s passing.
“Ron was a colleague and friend to many at Pittodrie and will be sadly missed. Our heartfelt condolences go to his family, friends and all associated with Hibernian.”
Gordon had revealed his illness in an open letter to supporters on February 3. He wrote: “Some of you may have noticed that I have not been at Easter Road in some time.
“I love the club and I love Edinburgh, and I come to our home in the city as often as possible and go to as many games as I can. That is why I’m writing this letter to you all to explain why I’ve not been around as usual.
“For most of this past year I have been receiving treatment for cancer.
“It has been a difficult time for me and the family, but I’m blessed to have their love and support as we navigate through the challenge. I imagine many of you will have gone through similar times in your own families. We all stick together to get through these difficult times.
“Unfortunately, my treatment has made international travel a little more challenging as I’m sure you will understand.
“However, while undergoing the treatment I’ve remained in daily contact with our chief executive Ben Kensell, who continues to run the club with the support of the board. That will remain the case as we continue to move forward on a variety of initiatives to further advance the club.
“I want to assure you all that our family’s commitment to the club’s long-term success remains absolute, and I will be back with you at Easter Road as soon as my treatment allows.”