Kevin McHale’s daughter, Alexandra “Sasha” McHale, has died at 23 after a battle with the autoimmune disease lupus, and the world of basketball is extending its condolences to the Houston Rockets coach through means such as Twitter.
Kevin McHale took leave on November 10 to tend to Sasha as she fought to get well, and, as recently as last week, Sasha McHale’s condition was said to be improving. Kelvin Sampson, who took over for Kevin McHale while he dealt with his daughter’s illness, said then of Sasha McHale’s prognosis:
“It’s not out of the woods yet. There’s still a lot of concern, but it is improving.”
Sasha McHale herself was a basketball player, and her former coach Shannon Hartinger lamented the passing of a player she said was talented and passionate about the sport:
“She was an outstanding basketball player and the life of the locker room… She was a joy to be around. You could tell she loved to play basketball.”
After the sad news that Sasha McHale had died of lupus was reported, celebrities and family members alike took to Twitter to express grief and offer up condolences to the family of Kevin McHale in their time of mourning.
One Twitter user says he is a cousin of Sasha McHale, and urged users who wished to do something for the family to donate to lupus research. (The enigmatic disease currently has no known cure.)
Sasha McHale was my cousin. We are heartbroken now. If you’d like to make a donation in her honor here is the site donate.lupus.org
— Jon Merckle (@thevikingpig) November 26, 2012
Others simply offered a kind word to Kevin McHale and family as they coped with the loss of Sasha McHale:
Sorry to hear about Kevin McHale daughter passing away. My prayers goes out to the entire family. Tough times i bet. #NBAFamily
— LeBron James (@KingJames) November 26, 2012
So sad! @houstonrockets head coach Kevin McHale and his wife, Lynn, are mourning the loss of their daughter, Sasha, who died yesterday.
— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) November 25, 2012
Thoughts and prayers go out to coach Kevin Mchale and his family….@houstonrockets
— Vince Carter (@mrvincecarter15) November 26, 2012
The Celtics organization extends its deepest condolences to Kevin McHale and his family on the loss of his daughter.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) November 25, 2012
My deepest condolences to Kevin McHale and his family for the loss of their daughter. May God give you comfort and strength.
— Leandro Barbosa (@TheBlur_Barbosa) November 25, 2012
Kevin McHale is a former Boston Celtics player and Hall of Fame athlete, and Sasha McHale adopted his number, 32, in her time playing basketball.