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Father of Louisville guard Luke Hancock dies of cancer

Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images/Getty Images

Months after helping Louisville win the national title, Luke Hancock lost his father to cancer.

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) -- The father of Louisville basketball guard Luke Hancock has died after a three-year battle with cancer.

William Hancock, 70, died in his bed in the family's Roanoke County home at about 7:30 a.m. Monday, said his wife, Van Hancock. The family was at his side except for Luke, she said, because he was on his to Colorado to attend USA Basketball's tryouts for the World University Games.

"We caught him in Dallas and he went on to Colorado as we had talked about and as his father wanted him to do," she said, calling her son's opportunity to compete for a spot on the national team a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." She said Luke had discussed his plans with his father and family before leaving for the tryouts.

William Hancock's death was first reported on The Roanoke Times' web site.

His battle became one of most poignant stories of the NCAA tournament when Luke scored 22 points with his ailing father in attendance watching Louisville beat Michigan 82-76 to win the national championship. Luke made four 3-pointers to help pull the Cardinals out of an early double-digit deficit, hit another 3 to push their lead to double digits with 3:27 left and became the first non-starter to win Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four.

"There's no way to describe how it feels that my dad was here," he said after the game.

Van Hancock said funeral arrangements are pending, and in part depending on how her son fares in the tryouts.

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