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The university said in a statement on Wednesday that Rose's family announced that tests from emergency surgery he had earlier this month to stop internal bleeding were positive for cancer. Rose had his spleen and a portion of his pancreas removed during the surgery.
Rose, 51, returned to Utah last weekend to undergo additional testing at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City and is recuperating at home. Doctors will decide on his treatment.
Rose couldn't get too specific, but told ESPN.com's Andy Katz on Wednesday he was optimistic that he could fight the disease.
"Coach Rose is a beloved member of our campus community. We ask all members of the BYU family, as well as Coach Rose's many friends and colleagues, to keep him in their thoughts and prayers at this time," said BYU president Cecil O. Samuelson in a statement released by the school. "We are grateful for the care he has received and is now receiving."
The BYU coaching staff will assume the day-to-day operations while Rose recovers, including running summer basketball camps.
"We continue to pray for Dave and his family at this time," said Tom Holmoe, BYU director of athletics, in the school release. "In addition to our professional relationship, I have a deep friendship and love for Dave and his family. We would ask that his privacy be respected as he recuperates from surgery and determines a course of action."
Rose's coaching colleagues from college basketball and the NBA were visibly upset at the news at the USA Basketball trials in Colorado Springs, notably Rose's friends Pitt's Jamie Dixon, Gonzaga's Mark Few and Arizona State's Herb Sendek as well as Milwaukee Bucks player personnel director Dave Babcock, who coached against Rose when the two were coaching in junior college -- Rose at Dixie College in Utah and Babcock at Arizona Western.
BYU is 97-34 in four seasons under Rose.Information from ESPN.com's Andy Katz and The Associated Press was used in this report.