Celtics legend Jo Jo White dies at 71

FILE - In this Monday, April 6, 2015 file photo, Former NBA player Jo Jo White stands on stage during the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2015 announcement in Indianapolis. Basketball Hall of Famer Jo Jo White, a two-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics and an Olympic gold medalist, has died. He was 71. The Celtics announced his death Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. No cause was provided. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Basketball Hall of Famer Jo Jo White, who played for the Boston Celtics as a point guard, as well as earned an Olympic gold medal, has died after a battle with cancer.

He was 71 years old.

The Celtics released a statement about his passing.

"We are terribly saddened by the passing of the great Jo Jo White. He was a champion and a gentleman; supremely talented and brilliant on the court, and endlessly gracious off of it," according to the statement, which was posted on Twitter Tuesday night. "Jo Jo was a key member of two championship teams, an NBA Finals MVP, a gold medal-winning Olympian, and a Hall of Famer. His contributions to the team’s championship legacy may have only been surpassed by the deep and lasting impact that he had in the community. The thoughts and sympathies of the entire Celtics organization are with the White family."

White played 10 seasons for Boston, which drafted him ninth overall from Kansas in 1969. He averaged 17.2 points per game over 13 years, also playing for Golden State and the Kansas City Kings before retiring in 1981.

The Celtics retired White's No. 10 the following year, and he still was working with the club as a director of special projects at the time of his death.

A cause for his death was not provided.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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