Lewis Katz, the co-owner of the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com, who just won control of the company at an auction last week, died in a plane crash in Massachusetts last night when the Gulfstream carrying him and six other people apparently exploded upon takeoff. From the Inquirer:

All seven people were killed aboard the private plane that crashed at Hanscom Field and erupted into a fireball, authorities said Sunday.

The Gulfstream IV crashed about 9:40 p.m. Saturday as it was departing for Atlantic City International Airport in New Jersey, said Matthew Brelis, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates the air field.

“There were no survivors,” Brelis said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people on board and their loved ones.”

The names of the other victims were not immediately released.

An aviation expert who spoke to New England Cable News said various explanations for the explosion were possible.

“The engine could implode, if you will,” said Steve Cunningham of Nashua Flight Simulator. “A turbine wheel could separate, there could be a fire in the combustion chamber. Or a fuel leak could also create a fire of that nature.”

Strangely, it looks like the story had to be placed on the Inquirer’s About page to circumvent the paper’s paywall.

Katz recently spoke at Temple’s commencement. Video of that here.

Sad news.