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David Stern, the former NBA commissioner who reshaped the league and presided over its skyrocketing growth for three decades, has died, the league said Wednesday. He was 77.
Stern died as a result of the brain hemorrhage he suffered approximately three weeks ago. His wife, Dianne, and their family were with him at his bedside, the NBA said.
On December 12, the NBA said Stern had suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage that required emergency surgery. His son, Eric, told CNN days later that his father had not been conscious since the incident and was on a breathing tube.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver remembered Stern as a mentor, a dear friend and "one of the most influential business leaders of his generation."
"David took over the NBA in 1984 with the league at a crossroads. But over the course of 30 years as Commissioner, he ushered in the modern global NBA. He launched groundbreaking media and marketing partnerships, digital assets and social responsibility programs that have brought the game to billions of people around the world. Because of David, the NBA is a truly global brand -- making him not only one of the greatest sports commissioners of all time but also one of the most influential business leaders of his generation," Silver said in a statement.
"Every member of the NBA family is the beneficiary of David's vision, generosity and inspiration."
The NBA wouldn't be the league it is today without Stern. During his 30-year tenure as the league's commissioner, Stern led a major franchise expansion and helped globalize the game, turning it into a multibillion business.
He also oversaw the creation of the Women's National Basketball Association and the NBA Development League.