Philadelphia 76ers Assistant Coach Sean Rooks died Tuesday, hours after interviewing for a job on the New York Knicks coaching staff. He was 46.
After taking a train home to Philadelphia, Rooks collapsed and died in a restaurant, according to Yahoo Sports. The cause of death is unknown.
“It is with deep sadness and overwhelming grief that we mourn the sudden loss of my son, Sean,” his mother, Deborah Brown, said in a statement released by the 76ers on Tuesday night.
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76ers co-managing owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer called Rooks “a beloved son, father and friend.”
“Words simply cannot express the heartbreak and shock our entire organization is feeling over this loss,” they said.
Rooks played 12 years in the NBA, including three seasons each with the Lakers (1996-99) and Clippers (2000-03).
"We are shocked and terribly saddened by the news of the death of Sean Rooks,” Lakers President and Governor Jeanie Buss said in a statement. “During his time with the Lakers he was a true professional and was a favorite among teammates, coaches and staff. Sean was a friendly guy that everyone loved having around."
During his time with the Lakers, Rooks served as backup center to Shaquille O’Neal, who was among the many paying tribute to their friend on social media.
Rooks served as a player-development coach for the 76ers and is said to have had a positive meeting with Knicks Coach Jeff Hornacek, General Manager Steve Mills and President Phil Jackson on Tuesday.
While his stint with the Lakers came right before Jackson's, Rooks did play under Kurt Rambis, who is considered to be a strong candidate for a job on Hornacek’s staff.
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