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B arron Hilton, a businessman who once led the Hilton hotel chain and owned an NFL team, died Thursday at the age of 91.
In 1966, Hilton took over as president and CEO of Hilton Hotels Corporation from his father Conrad Hilton, who founded the empire. His son, Steven Hilton, said the family was mourning the loss.
"My father was a loving husband to our mother, Marilyn, a wonderful role model for her eight children, a loyal and generous friend, a visionary businessman, a respected leader and a passionate athlete," said Steven Hilton. "He lived a life of great adventure and exceptional achievement."
Born in Dallas in 1927, he moved to Los Angeles in 1937 and began his career in car parking for hotel guests. Hilton enlisted in the Navy where he learned to fly, a passion he continued throughout his life.
Hilton was also the founder of the Los Angeles Chargers. The football team said in a statement that "the modern NFL would not be the way it is today without the vision of Barron Hilton."
Businesswoman and model Paris Hilton, 38, said in a Twitter post on Friday that she has always looked up to her grandfather.
"I am deeply saddened by the loss of my grandfather Barron Hilton. He was a legend, a visionary, brilliant, handsome, kind and lived a life full of achievements and adventures. Ever since I was a little girl I have looked up to him as a businessman, ”she said.