ANAHEIM (California) (AFP) Baseball and the rest of the world remembered New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner on Tuesday as a giant of the game with a giant heart. On behalf of baseball, I am very saddened by the passing this morning of George Steinbrenner, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said in Anaheim, where news of Steinbrenners death at the age of 80 cast a pall over preparations for Tuesday nights All-Star game. George was a giant of the game and his devotion to baseball was surpassed only by his devotion to his family and his beloved New York Yankees. He was and always will be as much of a New York Yankee as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and all of the other Yankee legends. Selig said he considered the outspoken, often confrontational Steinbrenner a dear friend. Although we would have disagreements over the years, they never interfered with our friendship and commitment to each other, Selig said. We were allies and friends in the truest sense of the words. Steinbrenner was known for his bombastic style, his penchant for sacking employees especially his team managers and for demanding perfection from the players he payed so handsomely. But it was Steinbrenners generosity that was remembered by many who recalled him on Tuesday. That included Boston Red Sox chief executive Larry Lucchino, the man who dubbed the Yankees the Evil Empire after Steinbrenners Yankees outbid Boston for Cuban defector Jose Contreras. George Steinbrenner was one of the most important people in the history of the game, and his impact touched all aspects of the business of baseball, Lucchino said. He had a giant heart, often well hidden from public view. Florida governor Charlie Crist noted that Steinbrenner was a frequent but quiet contributor to charitable causes in the state, where he had a home in Tampa and where he died of an apparent heart attack. His health had been declining for several years. Steinbrenner had no connection to Virginia Tech, but after a gunman killed 32 students on the university campus in 2007 he donated one million dollars to a memorial fund and sent the Yankees to Virginia to play an exhibition game. Steinbrenners support of sports extended beyond baseball, with both US Olympic Committee chairman Larry Probst and NBC Sports and Olympics chairman Dick Ebersol noting his contributions to the US Olympic movement in his role as a vice president of the US Olympic Committee. But his explosive executive style will also be long remembered. Steinbrenner changed managers 21 times and ditched more than a dozen Yankees general managers. Joe Torre survived 12 years as manager of the team, guiding them to six American League pennants and four World Series titles, finally parting ways with them after a disappointing 2007 playoffs performance after Steinbrenner had ceded day to day control of the club to his sons. Torre, now the Dodgers manager, said it was right that Steinbrenner was able to see his team win the World Series again last season. I will always remember George Steinbrenner as a passionate man, a tough boss, a true visionary, a great humanitarian, and a dear friend, Torre said. Its only fitting that he went out as a world champ. One of Steinbrenners most famous feuds was with Yogi Berra, who vowed he would never talk to Steinbrenner again after the owner fired him as Yankees manager 16 games into the 1985 season. Fourteen years later, Steinbrenner apologized to Berra and they became friends. Yankees captain Derek Jeter recalled Steinbrenner as a taskmaster, but also a patriarch. I think hes a father figure to everyone that was in our organization in the past or present, because he really took care of his players, Jeter said as he prepared to play in the All-Star game. Flags were lowered to half-mast at New Yorks City Hall as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former mayor Rudolph Giuliani recalled him as an icon of the city. US Secretary of State and former first lady Hillary Clinton recalled a Steinbrenner visit with the team to President Bill Clintons White House in the wake of the Yankees 1999 World Series triumph. On that day at the White House, as we walked out on the South Lawn together and the band struck up 'Hail to the Chief, Bill playfully reminded George, 'Dont get any ideas, its not for you, recalled Hillary Clinton. But George always had his own song. They say that if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere, and nobody knew that as well as George Steinbrenner.