Celtics Legend Bill Russell Passes Away At 88

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Celtics legend, two-time NCAA and 11-time NBA champion, and Olympic gold medalist 88-year-old Bill Russell has died, according to a statement from his Twitter.

The statement from his family says Russell died with his wife, Jeannine, at his side. The statement did not detail a cause of death.

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Russell was the first black head coach of any North American professional sports team.

According to the National Basketball Association, Russell accepted the role as player-coach of the Celtics starting with the 1966-1967 season, after which he won a championship in his second season with the team.

The Boston Celtics issued a statement to WBZ NewsRadio on Russell's accomplishments and history with the team.

"Bill was a champion unlike any other in the history of team sports - an 11-time NBA champion, including winning eight consecutive titles, a five-time MVP, an Olympic Gold Medalist and the NBA’s first Black head coach. Bill Russell‘s DNA is woven through every element of the Celtics organization, from the relentless pursuit of excellence, to the celebration of team rewards over individual glory, to a commitment to social justice and civil rights off the court," the team's statement said.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu made a statement on Twitter, acknowledging the champion's impact on the city.

WBZ's Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) reports.

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