Christopher Trotman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Former New Jersey Nets owner Lewis Katz was among the dead in a plane crash that claimed the lives of six others in Massachusetts, a business partner confirmed on Sunday. Katz, who also once owned the New Jersey Devils, was 72.
Harold H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest said he was informed by the pairs lawyer. Katz’s death comes days after he and Lenfest acquired full control of The Philadelphia Inquirer, buying out their co-owners with a $88 million deal.
“All of us at the NBA were extremely saddened to learn of the tragic, sudden death of former Nets owner Lewis Katz,” a statement released by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “Lewis was a trusted friend and valued member of the NBA family. He was a visionary businessman who touched the lives of so many with his tireless pursuit of innovation and enterprise, as well as his deep commitment to his family, friends and community.”
The former Nets owner made his fortune investing in both the Kinney Parking empire as well as the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network.
Katz oversaw the most successful period in the Nets franchise, purchasing the team in 1998, and watching them reach the NBA Finals in both 2002 and 2003. He sold the team a year later. A 1963 graduate of Temple University, Katz spoke at the schools commencement ceremony in May and received an honorary degree.
Katz is survived by his son, daughter, and several grandchildren.
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