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Bobbye Sloan dies after battle with cancer

6/18/2004 - Utah Jazz

SALT LAKE CITY -- Bobbye Sloan, the wife of Utah Jazz coach
Jerry Sloan, died Friday after battling cancer, the team said. She
was 61.

Sloan, the coach's wife of 41 years, announced in January she
had a malignant tumor in her pancreas, unrelated to the breast
cancer she was treated for and fought publicly several years ago.

She died Friday morning at a hospital in Evansville, Ind., Jazz
spokeswoman Caroline Shaw said.

"She was such a positive, upbeat person," Jazz owner Larry
Miller said Friday. "There was a lot of energy and strength of
character with a really positive image. It's the image I hope that
all of us who know here will keep of her."

Jerry Sloan considered leaving coaching to be with his wife, but
she wanted him to continue coaching. He finished the season,
guiding the Jazz to a 42-40 record that left them just short of the
playoffs.

After the season, Sloan said he planned to return for a 17th
year coaching the Jazz, although that depended on his wife's
health. He also said 2003-04 would be memorable more for his life
off the court than for the team's accomplishment.

Miller said he received a message from Jerry Sloan during a
meeting Friday that Bobbye had died. The Sloans had been spending
the offseason at their southern Illinois farm, near where they grew up and were high school sweethearts.

Miller said Sloan would have all the time he wants to decide whether
to continue coaching.

"I'm not trying to anticipate what he'll really wind up doing,
but I certainly hope he'll stay with the team," Miller said.

Miller had not spoken with Sloan and planned to give him some
time with his family, who were with him Friday.

Bobbye Sloan was diagnosed with breast cancer after Utah's 1997
NBA finals loss to the Chicago Bulls. She fought and won a very
public battle with the disease, but had been ill before the January
announcement with flu-like symptoms.

A private family service will be held the morning of June 26 in
McLeansboro, Ill., followed that afternoon by a public memorial at
the local high school.

Bobbye Sloan is survived by her husband, three children and
eight grandchildren.