Washington: Eleven-time NBA champion Bill Russell died on Sunday at the age of 88, his family announced.
“Bill’s wife Jeannine and his many friends and family thank you for keeping Bill in your prayers. Perhaps you’ll relive one or two of the golden moments he gave us, or recall his trademark laugh as he delighted in explaining the real story behind how those moments unfolded,” Russell’s family said in a statement without giving the cause of death.
As the most prolific winner in American sports history, Russell took all of his 11 NBA titles with the Boston Celtics, including eight in a row from 1959 to 1966. Russell also claimed the gold medal at the 1956 Olympics.
A five-time Most Valuable Player and 12-time All-Star, Russell were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called Russell “the greatest champion in all of the team sports”. He added that “Bill stood for something much bigger than sports: the values of equality, respect, and inclusion that he stamped into the DNA of our league”.