Two-time NBA champion Bill Walton died at the age of 71

NEW YORK (KYMA, KECY/NBC) – Bill Walton, a two-time NBA champion and Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer, died Monday.

According to a press release obtained by NBC News, Walton had been battling cancer before his death and was surrounded by his family.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement:

“Bill Walton was truly outstanding. As a Hall of Fame player, he redefined the center position. His unique skills made him a dominant force at UCLA and led to him winning the NBA regular season and Finals MVP, two NBA championships and a place in 50 in the NBAe and 75e Jubilee teams. Bill then carried his infectious enthusiasm and love of the game into broadcasting, where he provided insightful and colorful commentary that entertained generations of basketball fans. But what I will remember most about him was his will to live. He was a regular at league events—always gracious, smiling ear to ear and eager to share his wisdom and warmth. I cherished our close friendship, envied his boundless energy, and admired the time he spent with everyone he met.

As a beloved member of the NBA family for 50 years, Bill will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him. My sincere condolences to Bill’s wife, Lori; his sons, Adam, Nate, Luke and Chris; and his many friends and colleagues.”

Walton was 71 years old.

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