Veteran NBA referee, Greg Willard, lost a long battle with pancreatic cancer Monday. The 54-year-old officiated 51 regular season games and seven playoff games last season before his illness caused him to miss a Finals game between the Thunder and the Heat.
According to Jeff Zillgitt, USA Today Sports:
Veteran NBA referee Greg Willard died Monday after nearly a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer.
On June 11, the National Basketball Referees Association released a statement saying Willard had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was scheduled to work a Finals game last season but had to withdraw due to his illness.
For all Finals games between the Thunder and Heat, referees wore a No. 57 patch in honor of Willard, who called two Finals games during his career.