Neal Patterson, principal owner of Sporting Kansas City and CEO of Cerner Corp., died on Sunday at the age of 67, according to a statement from Cerner.
Patterson had been diagnosed with a soft-tissue cancer in January 2016 and reportedly died as a result of a complication stemming from the cancer.
“This is a profound loss. Neal and I have been partners and collaborators for nearly 40 years, and friends for longer than that,” Fellow Sporting KC owner and new interim Cerner CEO Cliff Illig said. “Neal loved waking up every morning at the intersection of health care and IT. His entrepreneurial passion for using IT as a lever to eliminate error, variance, delay, waste and friction changed our industry."
Patterson and Illig were two principal investors in what was then known as OnGoal LLC., an ownership group that bought the Kansas City Wizards from Lamar Hunt in 2006 with the intention of keeping the Wizards in Kansas City. The ownership group rebranded to Sporting Club in 2010 and have played a large part in the transformation of soccer in Kansas City.
“Like Ewing Kauffman and Lamar Hunt, Neal was a truly iconic sports entrepreneur in Kansas City,” Sporting Kansas City President Jake Reid said in a press release. “His commitment to the Kansas City Wizards in 2006 saved soccer in this city and paved the way for an incredible transformation that few could have envisioned at the time.
The Cauldron posted on Twitter Sunday morning in remembrance of Patterson, as did fellow Sporting KC owner Greg Maday.
RIP Neal Patterson. Part of our ownership group and a man who helped make our soccer dreams in this city come true. Our love to his family. pic.twitter.com/xCjG7GKiPU— The Cauldron (@KCCauldron) July 9, 2017
I lost a great friend today and Kansas City lost an amazing Champion. My heart breaks for his family. pic.twitter.com/xPIXJ4kXWb— Greg Maday (@greg_maday) July 9, 2017
“Major League Soccer deeply mourns the passing of Neal Patterson,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “Neal’s vision and passion were instrumental in the incredible turnaround of Sporting Kansas City.