Bill Russell, Bay Area Legend and NBA Icon, Dead at 88

Bill Russell, one of the greatest basketball players of all time , has died, his family announced Sunday.

Russell’s family said in a statement that he passed away “peacefully” with his wife by his side. It was unclear how Russell died.

“It is with a very heavy heart we would like to pass along to all of Bill’s friends, fans & followers,” the statement started.

“Bill Russell, the most prolific winner in American sports history, passed away peacefully today at age 88, with his wife, Jeannie, by his side. Arrangements for his memorial service will be announced soon.

“Bill’s two state championships in high school offered a glimmer of the incomparable run of pure team accomplishment to come: twice an NCAA champion; captain of a gold-medal winning US Olympic team; 11 times an NBA champion; and at the helm for two NBA championships as the first Black head coach of any North American professional sports team.

“Along the way, Bill earned a string of individual awards that stands unprecedented as it went unmentioned by him. In 2009, the award for the NBA Finals most valuable player was renamed after two-time Hall of Famer as the “Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement after word of Russell’s death came out.

“Bill Russell was the greatest champion in all of team sports. The countless accolades that he earned for his storied career with the Boston Celtics – including a record 11 championships and five MVP awards – only begin to tell the story of Bill’s immense impact on our league and broader society.”

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