April 16, 2014 Atlanta - The owner of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons Arthur Blank speaks to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporters in downtown Atlanta on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber today announced that Atlanta has been awarded an expansion team that will begin play in 2017. The new team will be owned by Arthur Blank, owner of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, and will play at the new world-class stadium soon to be built in downtown Atlanta. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: Hyosub Shin
Photo: Hyosub Shin

Blank announces he is ‘cancer free’

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who had surgery four weeks ago for prostate cancer, announced that he is now cancer free on Thursday.

Blank made the announcement while speaking at the Georgia Technology Summit at Cobb Galleria in front of 1,500 people.

Blank has been working through the post operative issues such a procedure provides. He will go through regular check ups to make sure it does not reoccur, according to statement released by his foundation.

“He’s doing great and is back to work,” a spokeman said.

Blank was speaking to the group after receiving the Technology Association of Georgia’s Captain of Innovation Award.

The spokesman for Blank said the owner would have no further comment.

During his speech, Blank also discussed the progress of the new stadium, the Braves move to Cobb County and his desire to keep the Falcons in the heart of the city.

He noted that the Blank Foundation has committed $30 million to help revive the Westside area near the new stadium.

He noted that the new stadium would environmentally responsible and use substantially less water consumption than the Georgia Dome.

In February, Blank announced that he had been receiving treatment for prostate cancer.

“In December I was diagnosed with a treatable form of prostate cancer,” Blank said in a statement on Tuesday. “Over the last several weeks Angie (Macuga) and I have visited a number of expert doctors and hospitals across the country to identify the best treatment options for me.

“I have chosen an aggressive approach that will include surgery and the overall prognosis is good. I’m looking forward to getting this behind me and continuing a very active lifestyle, my upcoming wedding, as well as continued active involvement in our businesses and philanthropic efforts for years to come.”

Blank, 73, and Macuga, his fiancee, are engaged to be married in June.

Blank was in good spirits while discussing the condition of the football team, the premium seat license situation for the new stadium and the hopes for landing the Super Bowl in 2019 or 2020 at the Super Bowl.

Blank, a co-founder of Home Depot, purchased the team in February 2002 from owner Taylor Smith, the son of team founder Rankin M. Smith, Sr. He investigated buying the Atlanta Braves in 2006, but withdrew from consideration. He also has founded the MLS expansion franchise the Atlanta United FC, which is set to begin play in 2017.

The Falcons and the United are scheduled to open play in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2017.

The Falcons, who were purchased by Blank for $545 million, were estimated to be worth $1.67 billion by Forbes magazine in Sept. of 2015.

Blank’s ownership tenure has been colorful. The Falcons have reached two NFC championship games, finally posted back to back winning seasons in 2008 and 2009 and the team posted five straight winning seasons from 2008 to 2012.

Also, his ownership has been marred by some controversy. Early on he fired coach Dan Reeves, the only coach to lead the Falcons to a Super Bowl. There was also the federal dogfighting investigation into the activities of former quarterback Michael Vick, which led to a prison sentence and the team fortunes dipping.

Also, coach Bobby Petrino left the franchise after just 13 games in the middle of the 2007 season. He thought he was signing up to coach the talented Vick.

Blank, who’s often seen on the sidelines during games, also fired Mike Smith, the winningest coach in franchise history after the 2014 season.

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