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Hall of Fame basketball coach Pat Summitt, who helped the Tennessee Lady Volunteers secure eight national titles during her 38 seasons with the team and won 1,098 games throughout her storied career, more than any other men’s or women’s coach in college basketball history, died on Tuesday morning in Knoxville, Tenn. She was 64.
Summitt’s foundation announced her death in an obituary posted on her website. Summitt's son Tyler also released a lengthy statement about his mother, who had been battling early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type, since 2011. Her declining health forced her to step down from her coaching duties at Tennessee in 2012 after nearly four decades at the school.
“It is with tremendous sadness that I announce the passing of my mother, Patricia Sue Head Summitt,” Tyler said in his statement. “She died peacefully this morning at Sherrill Hill Senior Living in Knoxville surrounded by those who loved her most. Since 2011, my mother had battled her toughest opponent, early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type,’ and she did so with bravely fierce determination just as she did with every opponent she ever faced. Even though it’s incredibly difficult to come to terms that she is no longer with us, we can all find peace in knowing she no longer carries the heavy burden of this disease.”
Over the course of her coaching career, Summitt led the Lady Vols to 16 SEC tournament titles, 31 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, and 22 Finals Fours. She also served as one of the biggest ambassadors of women’s college basketball in the process.
Many people both inside and outside of the sports world are reacting to the news of Summitt’s death on social media. You can read some of their reactions below:
President Obama also released a lengthy statement about Summitt:
Summitt's family has not announced plans for her funeral service yet, but a public memorial service is expected to be held at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville sometime later this week.