PHILADELPHIA (CBSNewYork/AP) — Former NBA center and Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Sean Rooks died Tuesday after interviewing earlier in the day for a job with the New York Knicks. He was 46.
Rooks had visited with Knicks president Phil Jackson, general manager Steve Mills and head coach Jeff Hornacek for a job on Hornacek’s staff. He had spent the past two years on Brett Brown’s staff in Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office said Rooks had heart disease and died of a heart attack, according to multiple reports.
“It is with a profound deal of sadness that we mourn the sudden loss of a beloved son, father and friend, Sean Rooks. Words simply cannot express the heartbreak and shock our entire organization is feeling over this loss,” 76ers co-managing owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer said on behalf of the team.
Rooks played 12 seasons after being selected in the second round of the NBA draft by Dallas in 1992. He averaged 6.2 points in 749 games with seven teams.
His interview with the Knicks was first reported by Yahoo Sports.
“We are all saddened and shocked by the passing of Sean Rooks, especially since we had just met with him yesterday about the possibilities of joining our coaching staff,” Hornacek said in a statement Wednesday. “His ability to work with big players and his passion for coaching were undeniable.”
Lute Olson, who coached Rooks in college, called his death a “terrible loss for Arizona basketball.”
“This is just a horrible shock,” Olson said. “Sean was such a wonderful young man with a great disposition. During his time at Arizona, he was always one of the most pleasant individuals to be around.”
Rooks’ son, Kameron, is a 7-footer playing for the University of California. He also is survived by another child, Khayla, and his mother, Deborah Brown.
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