Lakers Owner Jerry Buss Dies at 79

He'd been secretly battling cancer for months

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 18, 2013 10:43 AM CST

(Newser) – Lakers owner Jerry Buss died this morning at age 79, after a secret hospital stay, TMZ reports. News broke last week that Buss had for months been hospitalized for an undisclosed form of cancer, though at the time family members said he was "doing fine," USA Today reports. Buss, who made his fortune in real estate, has owned the Lakers since 1979, a span that includes 10 championships and the celebrated "Showtime" era, an LA Times obituary observes.

"He's meant everything to me," Kobe Bryant reflected on Friday, "in terms of taking a risk on a 17-year-old kid coming out of high school and then believing in me my entire career. And then for the game itself, the brand of basketball that he implemented in Showtime carried the league."

Jerry Buss walks out onto the court during the NBA championship ring ceremony as Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher look on, Oct. 26, 2010.
Jerry Buss walks out onto the court during the NBA championship ring ceremony as Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher look on, Oct. 26, 2010.   (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
In this Aug. 17, 2010, file photo, Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss smiles during an NBA basketball news conference in Bell Gardens, Calif.
In this Aug. 17, 2010, file photo, Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss smiles during an NBA basketball news conference in Bell Gardens, Calif.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
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