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OSU mega-booster T. Boone Pickens dies at 91

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Oklahoma State mega-donor T. Boone Pickens died on Sep. 11, 2019 at the age of 91. 

T. Boone Pickens, legendary oil tycoon and Oklahoma State booster, died at his residence in the Vendome in Texas after suffering from poor health during the past few years. He was 91. The O'Colly confirmed Pickens' passing, which was first reported by The Dallas Morning News.

Pickens is the largest booster to contribute to Oklahoma State.He gave more than $1 billion dollars, including $652 million to OSU athletics. He was a major donor in renovating the football stadium which now bears his name. 

Pickens also donated to the School of Geology, which is named after him.

“All of us in the Oklahoma State University family are deeply saddened by the passing of Boone Pickens," OSU president Burns Hargis said. "At the same time, we join in celebrating his incredible life. He was the ultimate Cowboy. It is impossible to calculate his full impact on Oklahoma State. His historic gifts to academics and athletics not only transformed the university, they inspired thousands of others to join in the transformation. OSU will not be the same without the legendary Boone Pickens, but his mark on our university will last forever.”

Pickens impact on OSU athletics goes beyond his donations, as his repeated gifts also spurred other majors donors to get involved in giving to the school.

“Mr. Pickens is a big part of our success and we’re all thankful for the lasting impact he’s had on Oklahoma State," OSU football coach Mike Gundy said. "It would have been difficult for us to climb as high as we have without him. He’ll be missed, but his legacy here will live on for a long time to come.”

OSU athletic director Mike Holder, instrumental in forging a relationship of giving with Pickens touched on the man's impact.

“The greatest Cowboy of them all has taken his last ride. It will never be the same again," Holder siad. "We could never thank him enough for all that he did for our university. He gave us everything he had and all that he asked in return was that we play by the rules and dream big. He was living proof that anything is possible if you’re wearing orange. ‘Great ride Cowboy, great ride!’”

Pickens recently posted in a personal LinkedIn he was struggling with health issues since suffering multiple strokes since Dec. 2016. Pickens said he had regained about 90 percent of his speech but suffered a "Texas-sized fall" that put him in the hospital the week of July 10, 2017.

Pickens was born in 1928 and is well known for his knack for a number of savvy investments in the energy industry, including his corporate raids of Gulf Oil and Unocal.

Pickens is survived by his five children.

OSU will hold a "Celebration of Life" for Pickens in Gallagher-Iba Arena on a future date. 

The OSU football team will wear helmet decals for the remainder of the season to honor Pickens. 

sports.ed@ocolly.com