Former NBA commissioner David Stern died on Wednesday afternoon as the result of the brain hemorrhage he suffered in December.
"Every member of the NBA family is the beneficiary of David's vision, generosity and inspiration. Our deepest condolences go out to David's wife, Dianne, their sons, Andrew and Eric, and their extended family, and we share our grief with everyone whose life we touched by him," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert also released a statement.
"We are deeply saddened by the passing of NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern. The WNBA will be forever grateful for his exemplary leadership and vision that led to the founding of our league," Engelbert said. "His steadfast commitment to women's sports was ahead of its time and has provided countless opportunities for women and young girls who aspire to play basketball. He will be missed."
Stern suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage on Dec. 12 and underwent emergency surgery after he collapsed at the Brasserie 1/2 restaurant in Manhattan.
The 77-year-old Stern was the league's commissioner for a record 30 seasons, overseeing the league through a rapid period of growth.
He started with the NBA as outside counsel in 1966, before working his way up to commissioner, taking over for Larry O'Brien in 1984.
Stern oversaw the Magic Johnson/Larry Bird 1980s, the Michael Jordan 1990s, the Kobe Bryant/LeBron James 2000s and, along the way, was a driving force of the game's global expansion.
During his tenure, the NBA added seven franchises, the WNBA and the D-League (now G League). In 2014, Stern passed the commissioner reins to Adam Silver. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame that same year.