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Marge Hearn, widow of iconic Lakers broadcaster, dies at 98

LOS ANGELES -- Marge Hearn, the widow of Los Angeles Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn, has died. She was 98.

The team said in a statement Sunday that Hearn died of natural causes on Saturday.

"Marge was like everybody's mom -- a Laker mom -- as far as I'm concerned," said Lakers coach Byron Scott, who played 11 seasons for the Lakers and helped the team win three titles.

"A lot of the Laker wives were able to confide in Marge as somebody they could trust and somebody that they loved. She was a lot like Chick, as far as giving it to you straight."

Chick Hearn died on Aug. 5, 2002, at age 85, eight days before what would have been the couple's 64th wedding anniversary. The cause of his death was a head injury suffered three days earlier, when he fell at his Encino home.

Marge Hearn gave the acceptance speech for her husband when he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame posthumously in 2003. He was the first broadcaster to be so honored.

Scott recalled the day in April 2010 when he joined Marge Hearn for the dedication of a bronze statue of her husband outside Staples Center.

"It was a tear-jerker," Scott said. "You get to know these people, and all of us in the '80s got a chance to know Marge extremely well, along with Chick. So to be able to be there when it was unveiled and listen to her talk, you could tell where all of the stretch in her apparently came from."

"We are very sad at the passing of our beloved Marge Hearn," Lakers president and co-owner Jeanie Buss said in a statement. "We consider ourselves blessed and fortunate, however, to have had her be a part of the Lakers family for six decades. She was truly the First Lady of the Lakers, sitting alongside her husband, the Voice of the Lakers, Chick Hearn."

Marge Hearn is survived by granddaughter Shannon Hearn and great-granddaughter Kayla Hearn-Newman.

She was preceded in death by daughter Shannon and son Gary. Shannon died of viral pneumonia at age 41 in 1990 and Gary died of a drug overdose at age 29 in 1972.