Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders died on Sunday (Oct. 25) of cancer. He was 60 years old.
Saunders announced in August that he was being treated for Hodgkin lymphoma, and announced in September, that he was taking a leave of absence from the T-Wolves in his fight against cancer.
At the time, doctors considered his condition as “very treatable and curable,” and Saunders planned to remain the Timberwolves’ head coach and president of basketball operations. However, he was hospitalized and it was announced last week that he would miss the entire 2015-16 season.
Then, unfortunately, he passed over the weekend.
“The NBA family is mourning today over the tragic loss of our friend and colleague, Flip Saunders,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “Flip’s untimely passing has left a gaping hole in the fabric of our league. Flip was a beloved figure around the NBA, nowhere more so than in Minnesota, demonstrating a genuine and consistent passion for his players, his team and the game. On behalf of the NBA, we offer our most sincere condolences to Flip’s wife, Debbie, their four children and the entire Minnesota Timberwolves organization.”
During his 35-year coaching career, he racked up more than 1,000 victories, which included successful stops with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons. He also coached the Washington Wizards and had a 654-592 record as an NBA coach.
With the T-Wolves, he became head coach in 1996 and led the team to eight straight playoff appearances.