Los Angeles Lakers owner, Jerry Buss, died Monday (February 18). He was 80.
According to reports, the longtime franchise owner passed away at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said his assistant Bob Steiner.
Buss had been hospitalized for the past year-and-a-half while undergoing cancer treatment. However, the immediate cause of death was kidney failure, Steiner said. In recent weeks, his condition worsening, so several prominent former Lakers visited Buss to say goodbye.
"The NBA has lost a visionary owner whose influence on our league is incalculable and will be felt for decades to come," NBA commissioner David Stern said. "More importantly, we have lost a dear and valued friend."
Under Buss' leadership since 1979, the Lakers became Southern California's most beloved sports franchise, earning 10 NBA championships along the way.
Over the years, Buss helped the Lakers bring in a slew of legends and current superstars, from Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard.
"Condolences to the Buss family," tweeted James Worthy, the Lakers' Hall of Fame forward. "Dr Buss was not only the greatest sports owner, but a true friend & just a really cool guy. Loved him dearly."
"We not only have lost our cherished father, but a beloved man of our community and a person respected by the world basketball community," the Buss family said in a statement issued by the Lakers. "It was our father's often-stated desire and expectation that the Lakers remain in the Buss family. The Lakers have been our lives as well, and we will honor his wish and do everything in our power to continue his unparalleled legacy."
The Lakers are now run largely by two of Buss' six children, Jeanie Buss and Jim Buss.