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Utah Jazz great Mark Eaton dies at 64

Mark Eaton
Posted at 10:30 AM, May 29, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah Jazz great Mark Eaton has died at the age of 64 following a bike incident Friday.

"We are heartbroken by the passing of Utah Jazz legend Mark Eaton. Our thoughts are with his family as we all mourn the loss of a great man, mentor, athlete and staple of the community," the team shared in a statement Saturday.

"His presence continued around the organization as a friend and ambassador while giving back as a businessman and volunteer to his adopted hometown in Utah. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Teri and their extended family. Mark will be greatly missed by all of us with the Jazz.”

The Summit County Sheriff's Office said it received a call Friday night of an unconscious man lying in Long Island Road in Silver Creek Estates. Upon arriving at the scene, officials identified the man as Eaton, who had appeared to have been riding a bicycle and crashed. The sheriff's office does not believe any other vehicles were involved in the accident.

Eaton was transported to the hospital where he later died.

A fourth-round pick by the Jazz in the 1982 NBA Draft, Eaton went on to be named a two-time league Defensive Player of the Year, along with being named to the All-Star team in 1989.

Eaton's No. 53 jersey was retired by the Jazz following his retirement at the end of the 1992-93 season. In his 11 NBA seasons, Eaton averaged just 6 points, but dominated defensively by averaging 7.9 rebounds per game.

Current Jazz center Rudy Gobert tweeted his thoughts on the passing of Eaton.

"One of kind and an amazing human being, I’m grateful for your presence in my life over the years. Gonna miss our conversations. But I know you’ll be watching," wrote Gobert, calling Eaton "a great mentor and friend.

Before Saturday's NBA Playoff games, TNT paid homage to Eaton, with members of the on-air team sharing memories of the former Jazz player.

"As much as Stockton and Malone were the face of the Utah Jazz, so was Mark Eaton," said former NBA player turned broadcaster Kenny Smith.

In 2018, FOX 13's Bob Evans sat down with Eaton to discuss his life in the restaurant business and public speaking after his basketball career ended. Eaton co-owned Tuscany in Salt Lake City since it opened in 1996.

“When I retired, I thought, where am I going to live and raise my kids? Utah had been such a fabulous place to me. It’s home,” Eaton said in a 2019 interview with UtahJazz.com.

USA Today's Bob Nightengale tweeted that Eaton was in Chicago earlier this week to attend umpire Joe West's record-breaking game on the field.

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