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Lakers owner Jerry Buss passes away at age 80

Feb 18, 2013, 11:14 AM EDT

File photo of Los Angeles Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss and US actor Jack Nicholson watching the WBC middleweight championship fight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles

Lakers owner Jerry Buss has passed away at age 80 after a battle with cancer, NBC News has confirmed. It is a story first broken by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.

Lakers spokesman Bob Steiner confirmed Jerry Buss was 80. His date of birth was Jan. 27, 1933.

It was just a few days ago that news broke of the severity of Buss’ condition.

Buss had been hospitalized for some time with an undisclosed form of cancer, but the news was kept private until recently, when players were reported to be visiting him because it was expected that he was in his final days.

Buss is widely recognized as the most successful franchise owner in NBA history, having purchased the Lakers (along with the Forum and the Kings of the NHL) for $67.5 million back in 1979. Buss later sold the Kings in 1988.

Forbes magazine recently valued the Lakers at more than $1 billion.

The Lakers won 10 NBA championships under Buss’ ownership, and his family remains in control of both the basketball and the business side of the team to this day.

Jim Buss is executive vice president of player personnel, and Jeannie Buss is the team’s executive vice president of business operations. The team will remain majority owned by the Buss family through a complex trust where each of Buss’ six children have a stake.

  1. 8man - Feb 18, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    I hate the Lakers. I hate LA. I hate California. Hell, I hate everything west of St. Louis. But if I could pick an owner for my beloved sports teams, he’d be just like “The Dr. Jerry Buss.”

    • sasquash20 - Feb 18, 2013 at 7:37 PM

      I hate the Lakers but love LA and all of Cali for that matter. Great weather, and a cool laid back place with cool people. I wish I could visit more. Anyhow. Dr.Buss was and always will be the Lakers. One of the best franchises in all of sports, and that always started with him. RIP Dr.Buss. I don’t count the hiring of the coach they have now, that guy sucks. I remember when the knicks let him go, I was so upset because I knew those horrible Knicks would only get better. So hopefully for Lakers fans and the NBA the Lakers fire their coach ASAP

  2. westcoastredbird - Feb 18, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    We in LA have been so blessed to witness the genius and legacy of Dr. Buss. Thank you for the Championships and your dedication to pleasing us Angelinos. With the loss of Dr. Buss and the great announcer Chick Hearn it has created a hugh void in Lakerland. It’s time to rally around his passing and move forward. Jim and Jeannie he left you keys to the Ferrari. Now it’s your turn to drive!

  3. 00maltliquor - Feb 18, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    God bless your soul Dr. Buss. You will be missed dearly. Thank you for all you did for us Laker fans. Best owner in basketball period. Say what’s up to Chick for us, will ya. And my little sister Alaina (for me). Hopefully he hasn’t been following the Lakers this year because Heaven doesn’t have Time Warner Cable.

    I’ve never met the man personally, but I got sooo much love for him. This is a sad, sad day.

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