Jazz owner has series of complications after heart attack

Updated: August 8, 2008, 8:57 PM ET
Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller was released from the hospital Friday morning, nearly two months after having a heart attack and subsequent setbacks that he said nearly killed him.

The 64-year-old Miller held a 90-minute news conference in which he described his heart attack, kidney failure and gastrointestinal bleeding that required eight pints of blood transfusions.

The Jazz announced in June that Miller had been hospitalized for complications from his Type 2 diabetes, but Miller's family managed to keep any word of the gravity of his condition private.

Miller was in a wheelchair and looking noticeably thinner than he was at the end of basketball season. He sat between his wife, Gail, and son, Greg, who took over as chief executive officer of Miller's businesses last month. That includes the team, which Miller still owns. But he pledged to try to stay away from the day-to-day decisions and the stress as he continues with his recovery.

"It's kind of like I've been given a clean piece of paper -- a clean slate," said Miller, whose well-known emotions caused him to pause several times as he described the last two months.

After investing the last 20 years in the franchise, Miller acknowledged that letting go of the Jazz will be difficult and probably not something he will do entirely.

But he doesn't want to devote the same intensity he has in building the franchise. After the heart attack June 10, Miller said doctors at University Hospital installed a pacemaker, which didn't correct the problem. Two days later they implanted a pair of stents.

Miller said the internal bleeding was caused by ulcers that took two operations to fix, the most recent on Monday.

"It was really neat just getting in the car at the hospital, knowing I was going home," Miller said.

Despite his pledge to slow down, Miller said he couldn't help himself during such a long stay. He spent part of his time devising new business plans to help the hospital run more efficiently.

Miller built a car dealership empire, which he expanded when he bought the Jazz in 1985, and has been extensively involved in running the team since.

Miller said he did not plan to look over Greg's shoulder, although the younger Miller said he will welcome any advice and input.

"I would like to have him involved. He is too good a resource not to," Greg Miller said.

Greg Miller said he would leave most of the basketball decisions to general manager Kevin O'Connor and team president Randy Rigby.

Larry Miller said he is trying to regain the strength he lost in his legs. He hopes to be on his feet again by the time the season opens in late October and plans to be in his courtside seat.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press