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Hank Steinbrenner, Yankees co-owner, dies at 63

NEW YORK — Hank Steinbrenner, the oldest son of George Steinbrenner and one of the four siblings who own the controlling shares of the New York Yankees, died Tuesday at age 63.

The team said he died at home in Clearwater, Florida, due to a long-standing health issue.

A chain smoker and miniature drag racer, Hank hoped to succeed as father as the team’s controlling owner. Between the 2007 and 2008 seasons, he became the public voice of the Yankees’ ownership.

“We’re keepers of the flame, I guess,” he said then. “I don’t particularly necessarily enjoy it. It was kind of thrust upon me. At some point, if you’re going to be a leader, you’ve got to step up and you can’t hide in the office.”

But brother Hal, 11 years younger, was put in charge in November 2008. While Hank was in his 13th season as a general partner and 11th as co-chair, he did not appear to have much involvement in the team’s operations in recent years. Still, Hal said he consulted Hank and sisters Jessica and Jennifer on all major decisions.