After being diagnosed with congestive heart failure earlier this month, longtime NBA player and former New York Knicks great, Anthony Mason has died.
Mason was just 48-years-old.
A spokesperson for the Knicks confirmed to ESPN that Mason did indeed die early on Saturday morning. A 13-year veteran in the NBA, he had played with six different teams throughout his career.
“First I want to thank all those who offered prayers and well-wishes for my Father, our family really appreciates it,” his son, Anthony Mason Jr., said Saturday.
“Overnight, New York City and the world lost a legend, a friend, a brother… but more than anything our father, Anthony Mason. As you all would expect our father — Big Mase — put up an incredible fight, dealing with a severe heart issue. I’m wishing this was something else I was writing, but Pops we’ve got to let you know we love you and know you’ll always be with us.”
It was just a week ago that Antoine Mason, Anthony’s son, said that he thought his father was getting better after having numerous heart surgeries. Antoine Mason is a senior at Auburn and on the basketball team.
On Saturday morning, the family of Mason released a statement on his passing.
“We would like to thank everyone for their heartfelt thoughts and strong prayers. Anthony felt each and every one. He fought like a warrior to the very end. Please keep your prayers and thoughts with us through this very hard time — it is a great loss for us. We ask for our privacy during this time.”
Sports interviewer Eddie Mata hopped on Twitter on Saturday morning and gave a few more details into Anthony Mason’s passing. It appears as if he died very late into Friday night and rather early Saturday morning.
— Eddie Mata (@EddieMata) February 28, 2015
As USA Today reported, Mason had won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award back in 1995 when he was with the Knicks. Two years later with the Charlotte Hornets, he took home all-defensive team honors as he was always known for his skills against the ball.
For his career, Mason averaged 10.9 points and 8.3 rebounds. He was a dominant force in the lane and always displayed intensity and perfection on the defensive side of the ball. Fans loved him wherever he went, and so did his teammates.
MY MAN MY MAN A. MASON R.I.P, WE GONNA MISS U BROTHER
— Charles Oakley (@CharlesOakley34) February 28, 2015
Anthony Mason’s death comes very hard to all of those that love professional basketball and are fans of sports at all. His family has not yet announced plans for a viewing or his funeral, but there is no doubt that a lot of NBA talent will say their goodbyes.
[Image via NBC New York]