(CHARLOTTE) - Roderick 'Art' Blake, 58, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the World Developmental Football League, has passed away in Charlotte, North Carolina, from an undisclosed heart condition, league officials confirmed Monday.  

Blake had been in critical care for a number of weeks, and never recovered. The WDFL has witnessed an outpouring of support from football executives and leagues across the nation, officials said. 

"This is a devastating turn of events," said Wayne Baskerville, WDFL CFO and co-founder. "It's impossible right now to put into words what Art means to the WDFL, its vision, and the entire game of football itself."

With respect to the family, the WDFL immediately postponed its national championship game, originally scheduled for November 6. The WDFL National All-Star game, scheduled for November 11, has also been postponed. 

"Art's family, and extended family, takes precedence over everything," Mr. Baskerville said. "Art's sudden absence leaves an enormous vacuum of leadership."

The national title game was to be a crowning point of Mr. Blake's decorated football career, a vision he championed for many years, and orchestrated for all of developmental football.  

The post-season games will be rescheduled "as soon as possible, at an appropriate time, in a manner that can properly honor Mr. Blake and his overwhelming contributions to our league, and the sport," said Steve Pugh, league president. 

The Eastern Conference Champion Georgia Cardinals and teams still playing out the regular season in the Pacific Coast Division have been notified. All have extended prayers, and condolences.

WDFL executives will release more details as events unfold, Mr. Pugh said. 

For more information, email wdflleague@gmail.com.