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Los Angeles Lakers owner Buss dies at age 80

By Mark Morgenstein, CNN
February 18, 2013 -- Updated 2133 GMT (0533 HKT)
Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss died Monday, February 18, a hospital spokeswoman said. Buss, 80, had long been a fixture in the NBA though he increasingly left day-to-day operations of the Lakers to his children in recent years. With 10 NBA championships and 16 Western Conference titles, Buss was nothing if not a winner. Credited with procuring the likes of Earvin "Magic" Johnson, James Worthy, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, it's inarguable that he was instrumental in cementing the Lakers' claim to being the second-best NBA team of all time, behind the Boston Celtics. Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss died Monday, February 18, a hospital spokeswoman said. Buss, 80, had long been a fixture in the NBA though he increasingly left day-to-day operations of the Lakers to his children in recent years. With 10 NBA championships and 16 Western Conference titles, Buss was nothing if not a winner. Credited with procuring the likes of Earvin "Magic" Johnson, James Worthy, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, it's inarguable that he was instrumental in cementing the Lakers' claim to being the second-best NBA team of all time, behind the Boston Celtics.
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Lakers owner Jerry Buss
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Basketball Hall of Famer died at a hospital Monday morning
  • Buss had been in poor health, suffering from an unspecified type of cancer
  • The Los Angeles Lakers won 10 NBA titles under his ownership
  • NBA Commissioner David Stern, former Laker Shaquille O'Neal recall his friendship, vision

(CNN) -- Basketball Hall of Fame member Jerry Buss, who had owned the Los Angeles Lakers since the National Basketball Association franchise's resurgence and dominance began in 1979, died in Los Angeles on Monday morning, a Cedars-Sinai hospital spokeswoman said. He was 80.

Buss died at 5:55 a.m., said the spokeswoman, Nicole White. He had been in poor health, suffering from an unspecified type of cancer.

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Photos: People we lost in 2013 Photos: People we lost in 2013

The Lakers won 10 NBA titles under Buss' ownership. Those championship teams featured such all-time greats as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.

"The NBA has lost a visionary owner whose influence on our league is incalculable and will be felt for decades to come. More importantly, we have lost a dear and valued friend," NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement.

"He was a dear friend, keen mentor and brilliant businessman," said O'Neal, who played eight seasons for the Lakers. "He'll always be remembered for his dedication in bringing the best to the purple and gold and I'm proud to have been part of his honorable legacy."

The franchise will remain in the hands of the Buss family, the team said in a statement.

Buss is survived by four sons and two daughters, among others.

People we've lost in 2013: The lives they lived

CNN's Paul Vercammen contributed to this report from Los Angeles, and Mark Morgenstein wrote it in Atlanta.

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