Dean Smith, the man who coached the University of North Carolina's men's basketball team from 1961 to 1997, died late Saturday at the age of 83 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, his family said.
Smith, who steered the U.N.C. Tar Heels to national championships in 1982 and 1993, also coached the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal in the Montreal 1976 Olympics.
"Coach Dean Smith passed away peacefully the evening of February 7 at his home in Chapel Hill, and surrounded by his wife and five children," the Smith family told U.N.C. in a statement. "We are grateful for all the thoughts and prayers, and appreciate the continued respect for our privacy as arrangements are made available to the public. Thank you."
Smith retired after 36 seasons at the university as the most successful coach in college basketball history.
He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.
Former NBA star Michael Jordan also paid his respects to his former college coach in a statement shared by the Charlotte Hornets.
"Other than my parents, no one had a bigger influence on my life than Coach Smith," Jordan wrote. "He was more than a coach — he was my mentor, my teacher, my second father. Coach was always there for me whenever I needed him and I loved him for it."
"In teaching me the game of basketball, he taught me about life," Jordan said.
"We've lost a great man who had an incredible impact on his players, his staff, and the entire U.N.C. family."
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory also paid tribute to Smith:
David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.
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