Richard Heckmann, Co-Governor of Suns and Mercury, Dies at Age 76

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 3, 2020

Basketballs sit in a rack on the court during a training session by the Brooklyn Nets at the Mexico City Arena in Mexico City, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. The Brooklyn Nets will play two regular season games in Mexico City, facing the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, and the Miami Heat on Saturday. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Rebecca Blackwell/Associated Press

The Phoenix Suns announced on Monday that co-governor Richard Heckmann died at the age of 76.

"Dick's philanthropic spirit coupled with his sharp business acumen was what separated him from the pack," Suns managing partner Robert Sarver said. "The legacy he built in the business world is only surpassed by his legacy of improving the community and his charismatic approach to life. I will deeply miss my friend and his kindness and presence."

Along with Sarver, Heckmann had also owned a share of the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury.

The Palm Springs Desert Sun's Mark Olalde reported Sunday that Heckmann "died from complications related to multiple system atrophy, a degenerative neurological disorder similar to Parkinson's disease."

He had been married to Wendy Hope Heckmann for 16 years, and they had two children. Heckmann had five more children from a previous marriage.

Heckmann took over the United States Filter Corporation in 1990. Nine years later, U.S. Filter sold for $6.2 billion to a French conglomerate.

In 2004, Heckmann entered the world of sports ownership when he joined Sarver's investment group to purchase the Suns for $401 million.