Tom Benson, a self-made billionaire who owned the N.F.L.’s Saints and the N.B.A.’s Pelicans in a four-decade reign over an often turbulent pro sports scene in his native New Orleans, died on Thursday March 15 2018 in Jefferson, La. He was 90. He had been hospitalized since Feb. 16 with the flu. Mr. Benson owned a string of auto dealerships in New Orleans and San Antonio and a number of Southern banks before buying the Saints in 1985. In January 2015 Mr. Benson fired his estranged daughter from his first marriage, Renee Benson LeBlanc, and her children, Rita and Ryan LeBlanc, from executive positions with the Saints and Pelicans and said he no longer wanted them to inherit shares in the teams, which they had been given through a family trust. He planned to provide them instead with compensation for the shares based on the teams’ valuation. He said he intended to leave the teams to his third wife, Gayle, whom he had married in 2004. Mr. Benson’s daughter, who had been the Saints’ and Pelicans’ executive vice president, and the two grandchildren, who had lesser executive roles, filed a lawsuit in a Louisiana court, seeking to invalidate the firings on the grounds that Mr. Benson was mentally impaired and had been unduly influenced by his wife. They also sued in federal court over Mr. Benson’s attempt to alter the terms of the trust. A judge hearing the state case upheld the firings, acting on findings by psychiatrists who found that Mr. Benson was mentally capable though sometimes forgetful. Mr. Benson extended his sports ownership to pro basketball in 2012 when he reached an agreement to buy the New Orleans Hornets for a payment of $338 million to the N.B.A., which had taken over the team. Forbes magazine estimated the net worth for Mr. Benson and his family at $2.8 billion in 2017 and said he was the richest person in Louisiana. It valued his Saints at $2 billion and the Pelicans at $750 million. Tom Benson is one of 20 NFL team owners among America's billionaires. His New Orleans Saints won their first Super Bowl in 2010 and led the league in NFL-licensed merchandise sales for that season. Team only got a wild-card berth this past season and lost in the first round of the playoffs. His granddaughter, Rita Benson LeBlanc, is EVP of the Saints. Benson and others paid $70 million for the team in 1985; he bought out his partners in 1993 in a deal that valued the team at $120 million; it is now worth $955 million. Benson also owns car dealerships and the city's Fox affiliate. With his family, he has been helping restore New Orleans in the wake of Katrina, buying and fixing up former Dominion Tower, now the Benson Tower, and New Orleans Centre. Mr. Benson and his third wife, the former Gayle Marie LaJaunie Bird, founded GMB Racing, a thoroughbred breeding farm in Paris, Ky., named for her, in 2014. Their colts Mo Tom and Tom’s Ready, both named for Mr. Benson, finished eighth and 12th in the 2016 Kentucky Derby. In addition to his wife and his daughter Renee — one of three children from his first marriage, to Shirley Landry, who died in 1980 — Mr. Benson’s survivors include three grandchildren. His son, Robert, and his daughter Jeanne Marie, both from his first marriage, died before him, as did his brothers, Larry, Jerome and A. C. He also had four stepchildren, Don, Ricky and Susan Walker, and Mimi Peake, from his marriage to his second wife, the former Grace Trudeau, who died in 2003.