- (Photo: Reuters/Fred Prouser)
Jerry Buss, owner of the Los Angeles Lakers NBA team, died on Monday at the age of 80 after recently being hospitalized with an undisclosed type of cancer.
Buss has become known in the sports community as creating the Hollywood glamour image that is now associated with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bob Steiner, Buss's assistant, told multiple media outlets that the famed owner died at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Monday morning.
Although he had recently been hospitalized due to cancer, Buss ultimately died due to kidney failure, according to Steiner.
Buss began leading the Lakers in 1979, and has since made a name for himself and his team, earning 10 championships over a decades-long career which included the Kobe Bryant era.
Buss reportedly purchased the Lakers in 1979 for $67.5 million, and currently the team is worth $1 billion, according to the New York Daily News.
Since Buss was diagnosed some time last year with an undisclosed type of cancer, he has reportedly been visited in the hospital by Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Shaquille O'Neal, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Amid Buss' health struggles, Bryant previously told the Los Angeles Times that Buss is "extremely, extremely intelligent and extremely patient."
"He has his goals. He knows exactly what he wants to do and how he wants to construct the ball club," Bryant added.
According to The New York Times, Buss, who has a doctorate in physical chemistry, was a child of the Depression era, and used the money he made off of his success in real estate ventures to pursue his love of sports.
Critics contend that he successfully transformed the Lakers into an NBA glamour team that now serves as a cornerstone to Southern California's sports community.
As The New York Times put it, Buss said of the Lakers: "I don't just want winners. I want champions."
Buss has been divorced twice and has six children, named Jim, Jeanie, Janie, Johnny, Joey, and Jesse.