Lerner, a wealthy businessman who made his fortune in the credit card industry, had been fighting brain cancer for several years, undergoing a serious procedure for the illness in 2001 at the Cleveland Clinic. Lerner had been rumored to be in poor health in recent months.
Lerner will remembered not only for bringing back the Browns, but also for his deep involvement in the community and in charitable efforts. Lerner donated an astonishing $100 million to the Cleveland Clinic and its school for medical researchers earlier this year.
According to Forbes magazine, Lerner was one of the richest people in America, and had a net worth of $4.9 million.
Lerner was a self-made man, who had served in the US Marines and also was a boxer. Lerner sold furniture early in his career and was also a real estate investor before finding success with MBNA, the nation's largest independent credit card issuer.
Tonight in Cleveland, Browns fans are grieving over the loss, and movements are already underway to suggest that Cleveland Browns Stadium be re-named after Lerner. When refusing corporate naming overtures, Lerner stated that the Stadium was about the Browns, and the fans. Tonight, many fans are thinking about Lerner's role and a movement may quickly gel to rename the stadium.
From everyone associated with Bernie's Insiders, our deepest sympathies go out to Al Lerner's family this evening.