LOS ANGELES (KRNV, MyNews4.com, NBC Sports & AP) - Jerry Buss, the Los Angeles Lakers' playboy owner who shepherded the NBA franchise to 10 championships, has died. He was 79.
Bob Steiner, an assistant to Buss, confirmed Monday that Buss had died in Los Angeles. Further details were not available.
Buss transformed the Lakers into Southern California's most beloved sports franchise and a worldwide extension of Hollywood glamour after buying the club in 1979. Buss acquired, nurtured and befriended a staggering array of talent during his Hall of Fame tenure, starting with his first draft pick, Magic Johnson.
With Buss' leadership and lavish spending, the Lakers won five championships during the 1980s Showtime dynasty and added five more in an 11-year span of Kobe Bryant's career.
Buss died at 5:55 a.m., according to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center spokeswoman Sally Stewart.
On Thursday, sources familiar with the situation confirmed to KNBC in Los Angeles that Buss had been hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center with an undisclosed form of cancer.
His family remains in control of both the basketball and the business side of the team. Jim Buss is executive vice president of player personnel, and Jeannie Buss is the team’s executive vice president of business operations.