TULSA -- During a Monday press conference at the Friendship Baptist Church, family members spoke publicly for the first time since the death of Wayman Tisdale.
"I’m his brother and I may be slightly biased, but I say that the nation has lost a great man," said Weldon Tisdale, pastor of the Friendship church.
On Friday, Wayman Tisdale died of complications related to bone cancer.
The 44-year-old Tisdale, a three-time University of Oklahoma basketball All-American during the ’80s, had battled cancer for two years. Last year, his right leg was amputated just above the knee.
Speaking during the Monday press conference were three of Tisdale’s brothers - Dannie, Weldon and William. Wayman Tisdale’s funeral service is set for 11 a.m. Thursday at the BOK Center.
"The Tisdale family is doing about as well as expected. This is a tremendously tough time," Weldon said. "We are really standing strong for his wife, his three daughters and son. We’re just surrounding them with as much support and prayer as possible. He meant everything to his wife and children. They are experiencing the loss not only of a father, but really of a friend. He was just a funny guy. His character was just so funny. He made you laugh and he made his children laugh."
"There is a sense of great emptiness," Weldon added. "How do we carry on through these days? There is a scripture in the Bible that says, ‘Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning.’
My only question is, how long will night be? We wonder sometimes when morning will come, but we know that as time goes, morning will show up."
Responding to the possibility that more than 10,000 mourners could attend Thursday’s service, Weldon said, "We shared Wayman for 30 years, so why should we stop sharing him now?"
Wayman was the youngest of the six children of the Rev. L.L. and Deborah Tisdale. L.L. Tisdale died in 1997.
"My mother is doing as well as expected," Weldon said on Monday.
"She has said for years how difficult it is for a child to leave before a parent. So we are really keeping our arms around her and keeping her covered at this time.