"I know he was suffering. But he was the best owner," said Omar Lee, 41, of the Bronx, who described himself as a die-hard Yankees fan.
"You see all these faces on the outside of Yankee Stadium," said Lee, a chef. "They better put a mural up there with him on it, because he is the Yankees."
Noting that the death occurred so close to that of Bob Sheppard, the Yankees' "Voice of God" announcer, Arthur Pascual, 44, of Manila, Philippines, pointed skyward and said, "Maybe they're going to build a Yankees team up there."
Ronkonkoma native Laura Delorey had also gone to the stadium for a tour with her father. Someone left roses, one white and one yellow, on top of the team emblem on the pavement.
Although she now lives in Westminster, Mass., "I still bleed blue," she tearfully admitted to The Associated Press.
When Randy Cruz, 23, saw George Steinbrenner was a trending topic on Twitter Tuesday morning, "I thought, 'Who'd he fire now?'
"But it's a sad day in the Bronx and for Yankee fans all around the world," said Cruz, a hotel doorman from the High Bridge neighborhood in the Bronx.
He said his fondest memory of the team was in 1996, "watching my first championship" and the creation of a dynasty.
"You can't mourn," he said. "You have to celebrate what he's done."
Al Poskus, 67, of Oakville, Conn., a retired sales worker, said Steinbrenner's legacy is "the pursuit of excellence and championships, what the Yankees and city of New York have been known for."
"He was an innovator and an example to other owners and to organizations on how to win," he said.
Elvin Diaz, a homeless man who says he frequents the parkland in front of the stadium, said Steinbrenner's death was a "sad story, man. Sad feeling because I love baseball."
Diaz, 47, pulled out from his satchel a newspaper memorializing Sheppard.
"We're gonna miss both of them fellas, man," he said. "I hope this year we're gonna win the World Series for him."