Iconic Detroit businessman Don Barden dies Thursday morning

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Iconic Detroit businessman and casino mogul Don Barden died Thursday morning after a long battle with cancer. He was 67-years-old.

Action News has confirmed with Barden Company officials that Don Barden died early Thursday morning.

Barden was the owner and CEO of Barden Companies, Inc. and The Majestic Star and Fitzgeralds Casinos.

He was a  well-known businessman who was responsible for many development projects in Detroit. His corporate headquarters is also located in the city. Barden is credited for his work in real estate development and the entertainment industry across the country.

Mayor Dave Bing released the following statement on the statement of Barden, "Don was a stalwart leader and businessman in this community, as well as a friend. We were aware of his longtime illness, and dreaded this day. We send our condolences to his family."

In the late 90s he efforted a joint venture with Michael Jackson in hopes to own a casino/resort in Detroit. The plan included a theme park that wanted to call "The Thriller Theme Park." He had hoped to build the resort/casino on the riverfront, but the deal was turned down by former Mayor Dennis Archer.

At one time he built, owned and operated cable television stations in Inkster, Romulus, Van Buren, and Detroit, Michigan - which became one of the nation's largest urban cable systems.

He also became the first African-American to own a casino in Las Vegas.

In the early 90's Barden became active in his mission to help revitalize Detroit by organizing peace summits to address crime and economic issues troubling the city. High profile leaders and activists attended these summits.

He is noted as one of the top African American entrepeneurs in the country.

Over the years, Barden remained committed to Detroit with his work in the civic and business communities.

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