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Jack Ramsay has died

Former coach Dr. Jack Ramsay speaking.
Former coach Dr. Jack Ramsay speaking.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Jack Ramsay was an admired Hall of Fame coach who led the Portland Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA championship. He than became one of the NBA's most respected broadcasters. Ramsay has died at 89-years-old after a long battle with cancer reported ESPN on April 28, 2014.

When his family announced Ramsay was dead they said he led the greatest life anyone could lead. Prior to becoming an NBA analyst for ESPN he coached 20 seasons in the NBA. During his coaching career Ramsay emphasized fitness, selflessness, ball movement and of course also skill. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992.

Ramsay was hit with a diagnoses of melanoma in 2004. He later had to battle growths and tumors that spread to his legs, lungs and brain. Finally he also had to fight prostate cancer and a a marrow syndrome. But he tried to stay fit until the bitter end. Ramsay often talked about his love of swimming in the Gulf of Mexico near his home in Naples or jogging in a pool or from wall to wall in his hotel room when he was traveling.

ESPN spokesman Chris LaPlaca wrote on Twitter that Ramsay was a rare man who was loved and respected by all. He lead a fascinating life and served as an inspiration to many people reports The Hollywood Reporter. Ramsay was an unusually versatile person who also served in the U.S. Navy as a platoon officer on an underwater demolition team.

Ramsay was very well liked in Philadelphia. He attended Upper Darby High School and in 1949 he graduated from Saint Joseph’s College. Ramsay played and then coached at Saint Joseph’s College for 11 seasons with a final record of 234-72. After earning a doctorate degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania Ramsay became affectionately nicknamed “Dr. Jack”. Ramsay became a legend in his time who will be deeply missed by sports fans.