Kevin McHale and the Houston Rockets gave no other comment after the coach’s daughter dies, Alexandra “Sasha” McHale, at 22 following a long battle with lupus last Saturday.
Coach McHale had been on a leave of absence, for what the team had called a personal family matter, since November 10th.
Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said in a statement, “I extend my deepest condolences to Kevin and Lynn for the loss of their beautiful daughter, Sasha, on Saturday afternoon. Kevin and Lynn are loving and dedicated parents who will need our continued support throughout this very difficult time. Our entire organization is mourning the McHale family’s loss and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”
McHale had also formerly worked as head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolve’s and upon learning the news, team owner Glen Taylor said in a statement, “While Kevin was with our organization, we all watched Sasha grow up and become an outstanding young woman. She will be sorely missed by her family and friends.”
Assistant Kelvin Sampson has been acting as interim head coach in McHale’s absence and their is currently no timetable for his return.
There is currently no cure for lupus, which is a systemic autoimmune disease or autoimmune connective tissue disease, that can affect any part of the body. As occurs in other autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks the body’s cells and tissue, resulting in inflammation and tissue damage.
Lupus most often harms the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, liver, kidneys, and nervous system. The course of the disease is unpredictable, with periods of illness alternating with remissions. The disease occurs nine times more often in women than in men, especially in women in child-bearing years ages 15 to 35.
Though it can be fatal, with recent medical advances, fatalities are becoming increasingly rare. Survival for people with lupus in the United States, Canada, and Europe has risen to approximately 95% at five years, 90% at 10 years, and 78% at 20 years.