The founder and owner of the Houston Texans, Robert McNair, has passed away at the age of 81.

KWTX reports that McNair battled leukemia and squamous cell carcinoma in recent years. He passed away in his home in the city of Houston on Friday with his wife and family by his side. The team did not immediately release a cause of death when making the original announcement.

Former President George H. W. Bush released the following statement following news of McNair's passing. 

Bob McNair wasn’t just the brightest Point of Light in Houston; he was one of the kindest and most generous people anywhere. Nobody cared— or helped people— more, and that’s just one of the reasons I will always be proud Bob was my good friend. He was simply The Best. My most sincere condolences and family love go to Janice and her wonderful family.

McNair was at the helm when the city lost it's beloved Houston Oilers team to Tennessee after the 1996 season and had vowed to bring an NFL team back to the city. He started Houston NFL Holdings in 1998 and in October of 1999 Houston was awarded the 32nd NFL franchise.

The Texans began to play in 2002 and got off to a slower start than they hoped for building as an expansion organization. The team won it's first AFC South title for McNair in 2011 and a year later finished 12-4. The team finished both seasons with a loss in the divisional round both years.

The Texans currently sit at 7-3 atop the AFC South and match up against McNair's former Oilers when Houston plays Tennesee this Sunday.

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