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The Lakers Issue Statement On Death of Owner Jerry Buss

Lakers' owner Jerry Buss competes in the World Poker Tour Invitational at the Commerce Casino on February 22, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Lakers have issued a statement on the passing of owner Jerry Buss.*Here is the statement in full:

Dr. Jerry Buss, longtime owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, passed away today at 5:55 am after a long illness. He was 80 years old. “We not only have lost our cherished father, but a beloved man of our community and a person respected by the world basketball community,” a statement released on behalf of the Buss family said.

Dr. Buss had been hospitalized much of the past 18 months in a battle which “showed his amazing strength and will to live. 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 statement concluded.

He is survived by sons Johnny, Jim, Joey and Jesse and daughters Jeanie Buss and Janie Drexel, all of Southern California; eight grandchildren; former wife JoAnn of Las Vegas; half sister Susan Hall of Phoenix; half brother Micky Brown of Scottsdale; and stepbrother Jim Brown of Star Valley, Wyoming.

Funeral and memorial service arrangements are pending. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Lakers Youth Foundation or a charity of the donor’s choice.

*Ed.'s note: Buss' birth year is reported as either 1933 or 1934 in various publications and sources. While our obituary indicated Buss was 79, the Lakers indicate his was 80.