Joan Tisch, a billionaire matriarch of the family that co-founded Loews Corp. and co-owns the New York Giants football team, has died. She was 90.

She died Thursday after a brief illness, according to the Giants website. No cause was given.

With a net worth of $4.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Tisch was one of America’s richest women. The 2005 death of her husband, Robert, and the 2003 death of his brother and business partner, Laurence, left her and her sister-in-law, Wilma “Billie” Tisch, overseeing a multibillion-dollar fortune.

Their husbands turned Loews, a theater chain when they bought it in 1959, into a holding company with hotels, energy companies and insurer CNA Financial Corp. Its principal units today include CNA, Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc., Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP and Loews Hotels & Resorts. Loews spun off Lorillard Inc., maker of Newport cigarettes, in 2008, after owning it for more than 30 years.

Joan Tisch had held a 6 percent stake in the company.

Her husband owned half of the Giants football team from 1991 until his death. That share is now owned by their three children -- Steven Tisch, a film producer and chairman of the team; Jonathan Tisch, who runs Loews with two cousins, James and Andrew Tisch; and Laurie Tisch, who has helped guide New York City cultural institutions including the Center for Arts Education, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.

NYC Impact

The Tisch family’s large philanthropic footprint in Manhattan includes Tisch Hospital at NYU’s Langone Medical Center, which includes the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health; Tisch School of the Arts at New York University; and the Tisch Family Zoo in Central Park.

Following her husband’s death from a rare form of brain cancer, Joan Tisch donated $10 million to Duke University Medical Center to create the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center.

She was a longtime board member at 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, which presents musical and literary events through its Tisch Center for the Arts.

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