Felix Rappaport, president and CEO of Foxwoods Resort Casino, died unexpectedly on Monday. He was 65 years old.
Over the past four years, Rappaport had expanded the Foxwoods entertainment empire to include more restaurants and outdoor experiences, such as an ecotourism initiative and an open-air concert series.
The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and Foxwoods Resort Casino announced Rappaport’s death on Monday.
“With his passing, we have suffered a major loss,” Chairman Rodney Butler said in a statement reported by NBC Connecticut, extending the board’s sympathies to Rappaport’s family. “Felix’s passion for modernizing and growing Foxwoods, as well as his friendship, mentorship, and humor touched everyone who worked with him. We are confident that Felix’s legacy will live on as we continue to push forward on the vision he set.”
Rappaport died in a suite at Foxwoods, according to the network. His cause of death has not been released.
Rappaport was vice president and chief operating officer at Foxwoods before becoming CEO and president. He had a long-term plan for the future of Foxwoods, the largest resort casino in North America, often speaking of the company’s strength.
“In my mind,” Rappaport said in an interview with the Hartford Business Journal last year, “Foxwoods in 2042 looks a lot like Foxwoods today: Fresh, exciting and constantly on the verge of the next great thing. Presumably, in 2042 technology will continue to evolve but people will still be people and looking to have fun, immersive experiences and enjoy the escapism that a full-service destination resort can provide, particularly in this beautiful part of the country.”
Before Foxwoods, Rappaport worked at properties owned by MGM Resorts and its predecessor, Mirage Resorts. He also helped manage the Mirage, Luxor, and Excalibur casinos in Las Vegas.
“Felix was a member of the MGM Resorts family for more than two decades and is remembered fondly by many,” said MGM Chairman and CEO Jim Murren in a statement. “Our condolences and prayers go out to his family at this difficult time.”