Legendary basketball coach Pat Summitt, who was not keeping well for the past few weeks, died earlier today after a long battle with Alzheimer’s, CNN reports. She passed away at the Sherrill Hill Senior Living in Knoxville and was surrounded by family and friends at the time of her passing. Summitt’s death was confirmed by her son Tyler, who issued a statement on behalf of the family. Pat Summit’s death came a few days after reports of the family “preparing to say goodbye” to her surfaced. The Inquisitr had also, back then, reported about Summitt’s declining health.
The statement issued by Summitt’s son read:
“It is with tremendous sadness that I announce the passing of my mother, Patricia Sue Head Summitt.
She died peacefully this morning at Sherrill Hill Senior Living in Knoxville surrounded by those who loved her most.
Since 2011, my mother has battled her toughest opponent, early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type,’ and she did so with bravely fierce determination just as she did with every opponent she ever faced. Even though it’s incredibly difficult to come to terms that she is no longer with us, we can all find peace in knowing she no longer carries the heavy burden of this disease.
For 64 years, my mother first built her life upon a strong relationship with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Her foundation was also built upon love of her family and of her players, and love of the fundamentals of hard work which reflected her philosophy that ‘you win in life with people’.
She’ll be remembered as the all-time winningest D-1 basketball coach in NCAA history, but she was more than a coach to so many – she was a hero and a mentor, especially to me, her family, her friends, her Tennessee Lady Volunteer staff and the 161 Lady Vol student-athletes she coached during her 38-year tenure.
We will all miss her immensely.”
Tyler goes on to add that the family will hold a private service and burial for Summitt. He has also hinted at an event that would be held at the Thompson-Boling Arena as a public celebration of her life. The family will be sending out invites for the same, tyler confirmed.
A separate statement was also issued by the Pat Summitt Foundation which read;
“On Tuesday, June 28 2016, Pat passed away peacefully, following a courageous battle with early onset dementia, “Alzheimer’s Type.” This disease attacked a lifetime of precious memories, memories that she has now won back as she rests in her eternal home. Memories that will live on in each and every relationship she developed throughout her life. “
WATCH: Remembering the life and legacy of legendary Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt: https://t.co/1dQPedTOqa pic.twitter.com/Oi3J3BYMPh
— WBIR Channel 10 (@wbir) June 28, 2016
Summitt was born on June 14, 1952 to the late-Richard and Hazel Albright Head in Clarksville, Tennessee. The fourth of five children, right from her childhood, Summitt developed a keen interest for basketball — a game which she played with her elder brothers. She graduated rom the Cheatham County High in Ashland City in 1970, after which Summitt earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from the University of Tennessee-Martin in 1974. Shortly after she graduated from college, Pat landed a job as head coach for the women’s basketball team at the university. She was just 22 at the time. Pat Summitt would keep the position for the next 38 years, stepping down only in 2011 after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
In her three decades as the head coach of the next 38 years, Pat Summitt would go on to create history. She is now widely regarded as one of the best coaches to have ever lived. Under her leadership, the Tennessee Vols won 1,098 games, 32 SEC championships and eight national championships. She also coached the U.S. Olympic team and won a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics. Summitt was placed at number 11 in Sporting News list of 50 Greatest Coaches of All Time in all sports. Other accolades that came her way include the title of the Naismith Basketball Coach of the Century and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which she was awarded in 2012.
Summitt was also a recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
[(AP Photo/Wade Payne.]