Thunder minority owner Aubrey McClendon has passed away in a fatal car wreck. McClendon's death comes just a day after a federal grand jury had indicted him with charges of conspiring to rig bids for the purchase of oil and natural gas leases.
Here's the details, from CNBC:
McClendon, 56, crashed into an embankment while traveling at a "high rate of speed" in Oklahoma City just after 9 a.m. local time, said Capt. Paco Balderrama of the Oklahoma City Police Department. Flames engulfed McClendon's vehicle "immediately," Balderrama said. He added that police determined McClendon was not wearing a seatbelt after earlier being unable to tell.
"He pretty much drove straight into the wall," Balderrama said.
He said police still needed to determine an exact cause of the crash, but a medical event was "possible." McClendon was expected to turn himself in at 11 a.m., Balderrama added.
McClendon was instrumental to bringing the Thunder to Oklahoma City. Back in 2008, McClendon was a 20% part of the ownership group that purchased the Seattle Supersonics. Perhaps most famously, McClendon stated in an interview for The Journal Record that "we didn't buy the Seattle SuperSonics to keep them in Seattle." The NBA fined McClendon $250,000 for the statement.
McClendon was frequently seen sitting courtside at Thunder games, often visiting with Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett. From 1989-2013, McClendon was the Chairman of Chesapeake Energy. Chesapeake Energy has provided the sponsorship namesake for the arena in which the Thunder play since 2011. McClendon founded American Energy Partners after leaving Chesapeake in 2013. American Energy Partners has been a sponsor of the Thunder throughout their entire existance.
We at WTLC extend our thoughts and well wishes to everyone affected by this tragedy.