Jerry Buss, who parlayed a US$1,000 real estate investment into ownership of the Los Angeles Lakers and won 10 National Basketball Association championships, has died at 80, the NBA said on its official website.
Buss had been hospitalised and treated for cancer but the immediate cause of death was kidney failure, according to his assistant, Bob Steiner, who was cited in the NBA post.
Buss bought the Lakers in 1979 and under his ownership the team became one of the most valuable and popular franchises in professional sports.
The Lakers won league championships during their ''Showtime'' era in 1980s and early '90s with teams that feature some of the sports' marquee names, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson.
The team had more dominant years in the late 1990s through 2004 with superstars Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.
''The brand of basketball that he brought here with Showtime and the impact that he had on the sport as a whole - those vibrations were felt (by) a kid all the way to Italy at 6 years old before basketball was even global,'' said Bryant, who was raised in Italy.
Two of Buss' adult children are executive vice presidents of the franchise - Jeanie Buss manages the business and Jim Buss oversees basketball operations.
''This is a sad day for Los Angeles,'' former mayor Richard Riordan tweeted.
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