Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale’s youngest daughter has died because of illness at the age of 23, the NBA team said on Sunday.
“I extend my deepest condolences to Kevin and Lynn for the loss of their beautiful daughter, Sasha, on Saturday afternoon,” Rockets’ owner Leslie Alexander said in a statement.
Alexandra “Sasha” McHale had long battled lupus, an auto-immune disease, and was hospitalized with a related condition, the Houston Chronicle said on its Web site.
Kevin McHale had been on leave since Nov. 10 for a personal family matter.
Assistant Kelvin Sampson has served as the Rockets’ acting coach during McHale’s absence.
The Rockets went ahead with a scheduled practice on Sunday.
“It’s really tough,” Rockets guard Jeremy Lin said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had this much communication with a head coach.”
“Even while he was gone, he was texting me after every game and before games. I was like: ‘Wow.’ Obviously you have your own situation, but the fact that you’re thinking about us shows a lot about who he is as a person,” Lin added.