Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, a 5-time NBA MVP and 12-time All-Star, died on Sunday at the age of 88. His family said in a statement that the NBA great died with his wife, Jeannine, by his side. The cause of death was not known. 

“Bill’s wife, Jeannine, and his many friends and family thank you for keeping Bill in your prayers. Perhaps you’ll relive one or two of the golden moments he gave us, or recall his trademark laugh as he delighted in explaining the real story behind how those moments unfolded,” the family statement said.

“And we hope each of us can find a new way to act or speak up with Bill’s uncompromising, dignified and always constructive commitment to principle. That would be one last, and lasting, win for our beloved #6.”

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement, calling Russell “the greatest champion in all of team sports.”

“Bill stood for something much bigger than sports: the values of equality, respect and inclusion that he stamped into the DNA of our league. At the height of his athletic career, Bill advocated vigorously for civil rights and social justice, a legacy he passed down to generations of NBA players who followed in his footsteps,” Silver said.

“Through the taunts, threats and unthinkable adversity, Bill rose above it all and remained true to his belief that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity.

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Russell led the University of San Francisco to NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956. He won a gold medal at the 1956 Olympics. In 1980, he was voted the greatest player in the NBA history by basketball writers.

He remains the sport’s most prolific winner and an archetype of selflessness who won with defense and rebounding while leaving the scoring to others.