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FACTBOX - Five facts about Yankees owner Steinbrenner

New York Yankee's George Steinbrenner (R) watches his team warm up before their spring training baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Tampa, Florida March19, 2010. REUTERS/Scott Audette/Files

(Reuters) - New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner has died at age 80 after suffering a massive heart attack, U.S. media reported on Tuesday.

Here are five facts about the man known as “The Boss” for his colourful, contentious style at the helm of the legendary baseball team and the most successful U.S. sports franchise:

* Steinbrenner invested in Broadway plays, beginning with the eventual flop “The Ninety Day Mistress” but including the 1974 Tony Award nominee for Best Musical, “Seesaw.” He also owned thoroughbred horses.

* Known for his generosity, Steinbrenner paid for poor children’s college tuition, helped families of fallen police officers in Tampa and New York and rebuilt a ball field in a poor neighborhood.

* While owner of the Cleveland Pipers of the American Basketball League, Steinbrenner signed Ohio State All-American Jerry Lucas, the top prospect in the country. This prevented Lucas from going to the rival National Basketball Association.

* Steinbrenner made sports history by hiring John McLendon for the Pipers, making him the first African-American head coach in professional sports.

* According to biographer Peter Golenbock, Steinbrenner sold stock owned by his wife Joan without her knowledge to keep his basketball team afloat. Joan Steinbrenner had begun divorce proceedings against George but the divorce filing was later rescinded and they remain married.

Editing by John O’Callaghan