Greg Willard, a longtime NBA referee who worked more than 1,600 games before he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, has died. He was 54.
Willard died Monday night, according to the league. He was diagnosed with the illness during last season's playoffs and worked only one more game, a preseason matchup in October not far from his Huntington Beach, Calif., home.
Some NBA players, including three-time MVP LeBron James of the Miami Heat, New Orleans guard Roger Mason and Sacramento center Cole Aldrich, tweeted condolences to Willard's family, as did Golden State coach Mark Jackson. More tributes were expected in the coming days, including moments of silence in Willard's memory at all NBA games Tuesday and Wednesday.
''The entire NBA family joins me in mourning the loss of one of our own, Greg Willard,'' NBA Commissioner David Stern said. ''Greg touched all those with whom he came in contact thanks to his extraordinary spirit, dedication and hard work. As a Finals referee, he reach...