Detroit mayor: William Clay Ford big city booster

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Photo - FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2008, file photo, Detroit Lions owner and chairman William Clay Ford walks on the sidelines prior to an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Detroit. Ford Motor Co. said in a statement Sunday, March 9, 2014, that Ford died of pneumonia at his home. Ford, who helped steer Ford Motor Co. for more than five decades and owned the NFL's Detroit Lions, has died at the age of 88. He was the last surviving grandson of company founder Henry Ford. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2008, file photo, Detroit Lions owner and chairman William Clay Ford walks on the sidelines prior to an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Detroit. Ford Motor Co. said in a statement Sunday, March 9, 2014, that Ford died of pneumonia at his home. Ford, who helped steer Ford Motor Co. for more than five decades and owned the NFL's Detroit Lions, has died at the age of 88. He was the last surviving grandson of company founder Henry Ford. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
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DETROIT (AP) — Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says William Clay Ford was one of his struggling city's biggest boosters.

The 88-year-old Detroit Lions owner and grandson of auto pioneer Henry Ford has died of pneumonia.

Duggan says in a statement that William Clay Ford's dedication to Detroit "was never more evident than ... with his decision to move the Detroit Lions back downtown."

The NFL team now plays at Ford Field. Redevelopment is well underway in Detroit's downtown, even as city neighborhoods continue to lose residents and housing stock.

The mayor says that "vote of confidence in Detroit was an important piece of the redevelopment of downtown that has since taken place."

Ford was the father of Ford Motor Co. executive chairman Bill Ford.

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