Kevin McClatchy, the former owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, has come out gay.

The 49-year-old McClatchy made the announcement in an interview with The New York Times published Saturday.

McClatchy told the paper that rampant homophobia in baseball convinced “him that keeping his sexual orientation hidden was best.”

“I've got a birthday coming up where I'm turning old,” McClatchy said. “I've spent 30 years – or whatever the number is specifically – not talking about my personal life, lying about my personal life. … There's no way I want to go into the rest of my existence and ever have to hide my personal life again.”

He said his decision to speak openly about his sexuality was difficult: “I probably didn't sleep as well as I could have last night.”

At the age of 33, McClatchy became the youngest owner of a major league baseball team. He was the Pittsburgh Pirates' public face for 11 years, stepping down as CEO in 2007. In April, he succeeded Gary B. Pruitt as chairman of the board of The McClatchy Company, a newspaper empire owned by his family.