PHILADELPHIA (WTXF/AP) - Former NBA center and Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Sean Rooks has died. He was 46.
The team released a statement from Deborah Brown, the mother of Rooks: "It is with deep sadness and overwhelming grief that we mourn the sudden loss of my son, Sean. Our family asks that our privacy be respected as we grieve during this incredibly difficult time."
Rooks died Tuesday night while out at dinner in Philadelphia. Earlier in the day, he was in New York, interviewing for an assistant coaching job with the Knicks.
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. Rooks spent the past two years working as an assistant on Brett Brown's staff in Philadelphia.
76ers co-managing owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer released this statement on behalf of the organization:
"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.
"Sean will long be remembered not for his accomplishments on the court - of which there were many - but for his vibrant personality, positive outlook and the genuine care he had for everyone in his life.
"While he is gone far too soon, we will all hold close the time we were able to spend with Sean here in Philadelphia. Our thoughts and prayers are with his mother, Deborah, and his children, Kameron and Khayla, and all of those who were close to him during this extremely difficult time."
Head Coach Brett Brown sent this statement from Istanbul, Turkey:
"I learned of this tragic news in the early morning hours last night. Sean Rooks was a wonderful person with a kind soul who deserved to live longer than he did. Sean was with me for two years and helped our young players and coaching staff by sharing his experiences in such an endearing way.
"It was exciting for me to sit with him recently and see the enthusiasm he had while preparing to interview for the Head Coach position with an NBA D-League team. We would role-play, ask each other different questions, and when he left I felt like he had a real chance to make a significant advancement in his own coaching career.
"When he was offered the position just a few days later, we spoke of the challenges, growth and responsibility that would help him personally move his career forward as a head coach. He was genuinely excited by this offer, as well as other job opportunities that were coming his way.
"He meant so much to so many people. We are all deeply saddened by his loss and extend our condolences to his family during this time. He will be missed."