The Lakers issued a statement that read, "Alina Claire Kupchak, daughter of Lakers General Manager Mitch and his wife Claire, passed away this morning at the age of 15 after a lengthy illness. The family asks for and appreciates their privacy at this difficult time, and would like to express their gratitude for everyone’s love, support, thoughts and prayers."
Alina's tragic death has been felt by many, including basketball player Kobe Bryant, Earvin "Magic" Johnson and CNN sports anchor Rachel Nichols, who took to Twitter to express their condolences.
Laker Nation, please send your thoughts and prayers to our outstanding GM Mitch Kupchak and his family.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 6, 2015
Rough week. GM Mitch Kupchak’s 15-year-old daughter, Alina, passes away after long illness. pic.twitter.com/GNNnPRiI2e— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) January 5, 2015
Another punch to the gut, this time news of the death of Mitch Kupchak's daughter. So sad for 1 of the well-liked men in the NBA.— J.A. Adande (@jadande) January 5, 2015
Kupchak joined the Lakers in the 1994-95 season, and since that time the team has won five NBA championships and made 18 playoff appearances, Time magazine reports. Kupchak also played nine seasons in the NBA, including four with the Lakers from 1981 to 1986.
According to ESPN, Lakers coach Byron Scott also expressed his sadness during the Lakers' game against the Trail Blazers, saying, "We're all hurt. It just kind of puts basketball in a different light. It's not that important... We sat down as coaches this morning and there wasn't a whole lot of words to be said. Because as a parent, all of us have kids. And especially us fathers who have daughters, I can't imagine being here and my daughter is not here. It's not the way it's supposed to happen. We send out our condolences to the Kupchak family."
Our thoughts are with the Kupchak family during this very sad time.
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