Norfolk, Va. - Twelve-time NBA All-Star Moses Malone passed away early Sunday morning in his Norfolk hotel room at the age of 60.
Norfolk Waterside Marriott staff found Malone unresponsive and not breathing in his room shortly before 8:00 a.m.
Norfolk Fire Rescue pronounced Malone deceased at the scene.
On Monday, the Chief medical Examiner says the cause of death for NBA Basketball Hall of Famer was Hypertensive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
Malone was in Norfolk for the Still Hope Celebrity Weekend Extravaganza where he was set to participate in the Celebrity Golf Classic Sunday morning. The weekend is a fundraiser for the Still Hope Foundation, a non-profit that helps Hampton Roads mothers get to a point beyond self-sustaining.
"Moses was actually the first Hall of Famer that came out and played in our golf tournament, so he really put us on the map," says NBA referee Tony Brothers, who started the foundation with his wife, Monica, back in October of 2007. "We built the golf tournament around people like Moses, and not one time has he ever asked us for anything. He comes down, volunteers his time, stays all weekend, will take pictures with anyone, talk to anyone. He's going to be really missed."
A Petersburg, Virginia native, Malone was the first player in the modern era to go pro right after high school, when he was drafted by the Utah Stars of the ABA in 1974.
"We are stunned and deeply saddened by the passing of Hall of Famer Moses Malone, an NBA legend gone far too soon," said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
The 12-time All-Star and three-time Most Valuable Player played for nine teams over his 21-year career, most notably for the Houston Rockets and the Philadelphia 76ers, which he led to a championship in 1983.
The NBA named Malone one of its 50 best players of all time in 1996, and enshrined him in the Hall of Fame five years later.
"It is with a deep sense of sadness that the Sixers family mourns the sudden loss of Moses Malone," 76ers CEO Scott O'Neil said Sunday. "It is difficult to express what his contributions to this organization -- both as a friend and player -- have meant to us, the city of Philadelphia and his faithful fans. Moses holds a special place in our hearts and will forever be remembered as a genuine icon and pillar of the most storied era in the history of Philadelphia 76ers basketball."
The 6-foot-10-inch big man earned the moniker "Chairman of the Boards" for his rebounding prowess, leading the league in the category six times.
"He was among the most dominant centers ever to play the game and one of the best players in the history of the NBA," said Silver.
Malone, who made more free throws than any other player in history, retired during the 1994-95 season as a member of the San Antonio Spurs.