Glazer controversially became owner of United in May 2005 and his tenure was an uneasy one, with many fans unhappy at the level of debt his takeover had put on the club, although they have largely continued to prosper ever since.
It is understood Glazer’s death will not have any significant effect on the ownership of the Barclays Premier League club, with the family retaining a 90 per cent share.
A statement from Manchester United read: “The thoughts of everyone at Manchester United are with the Glazer family tonight following the news that Malcolm Glazer has passed away. He was 85.
“The news was announced earlier on the official website of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NFL franchise he acquired ownership of in 1995.
“Malcolm leaves behind his wife Linda, six children and 14 grandchildren. Staff at Manchester United extend deep and sincere condolences to them all at this difficult time.”
Tampa Bay paid tribute to New York-born Glazer as a “pioneering thinker” and a “dynamic business leader”, with the club achieving seven play-off berths, five play-off victories and their only Super Bowl triumph 12 years ago following his takeover in 1995.
He came to attention on these shores with his acquisition of United nine years ago, using loans against the club’s assets to finance his takeover, which totalled almost £800million.
United had previously been a debt-free club and it was Glazer’s means that brought the ire of a number of supporters, although the club have continued to enjoy plenty of good times on the pitch – including five Premier League titles, three League Cups and the 2007-08 Champions League.
Manchester United Supporters’ Trust vice-chair Sean Bones said: “It would be inappropriate for me to make any comment about the death of Malcolm Glazer as I didn’t know him or his family personally.
“However, as a supporter, I am aware of the detrimental effect the Glazers have had on the football club and the huge debt that has been placed on Manchester United.”
He added: “I’d be surprised if there was a change (in ownership structure), short term. Malcolm Glazer wasn’t a board member and his children are on the board, so I don’t think that situation changes much.”
Born in Rochester, New York as one of seven children, Glazer took over his family business at the age of 15 following the death of his father and went on to thrive in professional business, owning or becoming a substantial shareholder in a number of renowned public companies.
And although Glazer may not have been universally popular in Manchester, he was a widely respected figure in his homeland and the tributes poured in on Wednesday.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell added: “Malcolm Glazer was the guiding force behind the building of a Super Bowl-champion organization.
“His dedication to the community was evident in all he did, including his leadership in bringing Super Bowls to Tampa Bay.
“Malcolm’s commitment to the Bucs, the NFL and the people of the Tampa Bay region are the hallmarks of his legacy.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Linda, their six children and the entire Glazer family.”
Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy posted on Twitter: “Rest in peace to the driving force that helped transform the organization that changed my life forever. Forever grateful!! RIP Mr. Glazer.”
The Buccaneers have announced a private family funeral service will be held in due course.