PASSINGS: Margo Dydek, Bill Rechin

Margo Dydek

7-foot, 2-inch former WNBA player

Margo Dydek, 37, a 7-foot-2 former WNBA player who led the professional women’s basketball league in blocks nine times, died Friday in Brisbane, Australia, after being placed in a medically induced coma following a heart attack a week ago.

Her death was confirmed by Cathy Roberts, operations manager for the Northside Wizards in the Queensland Basketball League, where Dydek was the coach.


Dydek, pregnant with her third child, was stricken with a heart attack May 19 and collapsed at her home in Brisbane. Dydek was early in her pregnancy and the fetus died, Roberts said.

Dydek, who was born in Poland, once was said to be the tallest active professional female basketball player. She was the No. 1 pick in the 1998 WNBA draft by the Utah Starzz. She also played for San Antonio, Connecticut and the Sparks.

Dydek held the record for most blocks in a WNBA career (877 in 323 games) and led the league from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2005-07. In 2008, Dydek signed with the Sparks following time away from basketball to give birth to her first son. She retired after that season.

According to Dydek’s Facebook page, she was born April 28, 1974, in Warsaw to a 6-foot, 7-inch father and a 6-foot, 3-inch mother. The older of her two sisters, Kashka, played for Colorado in the now-defunct ABL, and in Poland.

Dydek also played for professional teams in Europe and for the Polish Olympic team.

She is survived by her husband, David; and two sons, David, 3; and Alex, 7 months.

Bill Rechin

Cartoonist known for ‘Crock’ strip


Bill Rechin, 80, a cartoonist known for the syndicated “Crock” strip that parodies life in a Foreign Legion desert outpost, died May 21 at his home in Virginia’s Spotsylvania County of complications from esophageal cancer.

In 1975, Rechin, Brant Parker and Don Wilder created the “Crock” comic strip as a parody of the Foreign Legion classic “Beau Geste.” The strip, which follows the adventures of Vermin P. Crock and an assortment of characters stationed at their grim desert outpost, is distributed by King Features Syndicate and appears in more than 200 newspapers in 19 countries.

Rechin’s son-in-law, Bob Morgan, said he and Rechin’s son, Kevin Rechin, plan to continue producing the comic strip.

— Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports