H Wayne Huizenga, Blockbuster Video Founder, Dies at 80

Billionaire was also former owner of Miami Dolphins, Florida Marlins and Florida Panthers

Wayne Huizenga

H. Wayne Huizenga, the founder of Blockbuster Video, AutoNation and Waste Management, died Friday. He was 80.

AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson confirmed Huizenga’s death via Twitter.

“Wayne was our Founder, and we would not be the company we are today without the spirit, drive, energy, and vision he gave us. Wayne is at the very core of our culture,” Jackson said in a statement to CNBC. “To me personally, today, I lost both my mentor and my best friend, H. Wayne Huizenga. Alice and I will miss the sparkle in his eye we came to love. Wayne was one-of-a-kind whose business success is unmatched and might never be repeated. Wayne was one of the greatest entrepreneurs in the history of business, leaving a lasting mark in sports, community and business. His Legacy burns brighter than anyone.”

No further details about his death were available at the time of publication.

The billionaire purchased Blockbuster in 1987, along with a couple other investors. He was instrumental in growing the video rental company from 10 stores to over 3,000 worldwide before the business was sold to Viacom in 1994 for $8.4 billion.

Huizenga told the Washington Post that he “cried like crazy” when he decided it was time to part with Blockbuster. “I didn’t want to sell it. I loved that business,” he said. But he noted he “could see the technology was changing.”

Blockbuster closed down almost all of its locations in 2013 amidst the growing competition from rivals like Netflix. However, there are still a few remote stores open.

Huizenga is also known for founding garbage giant Waste Management, U.S. car dealership AutoNation, hotel chain Extended Stay America. He also previously owned the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, the NHL’s Florida Panthers and the MLB’s Florida Marlins.