A Basketball Hall of Famer and a champion at the highest levels of the sport passed away Wednesday, her family said. Anne Donovan was only 56 years old.
According to NPR, the former Old Dominion University star and WNBA coach died due to complications of heart failure. She will be missed.
Donovan played center at 6’8” and had the ability to both shoot from the outside the lane and also dominate around the basket. In 1980 she won a collegiate championship with Old Dominion. She was only a freshman.
"While it is extremely difficult to express how devastating it is to lose Anne, our family remains so very grateful to have been blessed with such a wonderful human being," the family said in a statement, published by the Associated Press.
"Anne touched many lives as a daughter, sister, aunt, friend and coach. Anne was a person with strong faith, courageous spirit, a giving heart and love for everyone."
Donovan won two Olympic gold medals as a player in 1984 and 1988. She won a third as a head coach at the 2008 Summer Games.
Experts considered her as a quintessential center as she helped mold the sport with her complete play and wide-ranging game. As a Hall of Famer, she placed herself in the annals of the sport, along with greats such as Lisa Leslie and Brittney Griner.
Donovan turned pro and played first overseas in Japan and Italy. In 1989 she returned to the United States, opting to set aside her prowess on the court and take up coaching.
She got her first job as an assistant at Old Dominion, followed by a head coaching position at East Carolina University, where she coached from 1995 to 1998. She held other collegiate coaching jobs, as well as in the WNBA.
She was born on November 1, 1961 in Ridgewood, New Jersey and attended Paramus Catholic high school. Please pray for her family during this difficult time of loss. Be sure to see the new photos of Meghan and Queen Elizabeth together, they’re adorable!