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Oklahoma basketball great Wayman Tisdale dies

By John Helsley - Staff Writer Modified: May 16, 2009 at 7:34 am •  Published: May 15, 2009
p/> He made several public appearances since the surgery, attending OU basketball games, and recently, an Oklahoma City Thunder game on April 7.

Throughout his struggle with cancer, those who knew Tisdale best talked of how he inspired others through his trials.

“Wayman, through this fight of his, was the most courageous person that I’ve ever seen,” said Billy Tubbs, Tisdale’s coach at OU. “He was so positive he almost made you feel he was OK, when you knew he wasn’t.”

Tisdale’s death was announced on the Oklahoma Senate floor Friday by Senate Majority Leader Todd Lamb, who led the chamber in prayer.

“Whether you’re a Cowboy or Sooner, Oklahoma has lost a great ambassador,” Lamb said. “He was a gifted musician, a gifted athlete and he just wore that well wherever he went.”

Wore it in his smile.

“It’s a shock,” Tubbs said. “I don’t know of any athlete at Oklahoma or any place else who was more beloved by the fans who knew him than Wayman Tisdale.

“He was obviously a great, great player. But Wayman as a person overshadowed that. He just lit up a room and was so positive.

“He was a great human being. I’ll miss everything about him.”

Even in a relative short period of knowing Tisdale, Capel held similar sentiments.

“Wayman Tisdale is one of the best people I have ever had the privilege of knowing,” Capel said. “He had an incredible gift of making the people who came in contact with him feel incredibly special.

“His basketball talent and accomplishments pale in comparison to the impact he had on the lives that he influenced by the way he lived his life and the tremendous character he displayed in his fight with cancer.”

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

Wire reports contributed to this story. has disabled the comments for this article.

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