Kalamazoo car dealer, sports owner and philanthropist Bill Wright has died in Florida, where he had a home. Wright was 54.

Wright's sister-in-law, Linda Rogers,said emergency responders found Wright at about 4 p.m. Saturday and were unable to resuscitate him.  She says it is believed Wright died of heart failure.

Reports say Wright had left for Florida after spending Christmas in the Kalamazoo area. His wife, Ann, was going to meet him in Florida later. But when Ann attempted to call Bill several times Saturday without reaching him, she had a friend go check on him, Rogers said.

Friends say Wright overcame an abusive childhood to become a major figure in Kalamazoo and West Michigan auto sales. His name was synonymous with the Seelye-Wright Auto Group. He was also commercial pitchman for the dealerships with his well known "Yes We Can" slogan. Wright also headed an ownership group that operated the Kalamazoo Kings baseball team. Wright was also a generous advocate for efforts to eliminate child abuse with the Wright for Kids Foundation. His foundation involved with both the Rock for Kids concerts downtown and the annual RoofSit fundraiser for the Community Healing Center.