"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.