Bob Levey/Getty Images

Longtime NBA referee Tony Brown has died from pancreatic cancer, the league announced on Thursday, Oct. 20. He was 55.

Brown was an NBA referee for 20 years and was well-respected by players, coaches and team owners.

In 2021, Brown announced he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, meaning the cancer had spread in his body.

After more than a dozen rounds of chemotherapy, Brown felt well enough to work in the NBA Replay Center last November.

He said at the time, “I had to show my kids there’s nothing in life that you can’t challenge and overcome if you have a positive mindset.”

Eric Espada/Getty Images

Lakers star LeBron James remembered his favorite referee on Twitter.

“R.I.P. Tony man!!” James tweeted. “Great ref but greater dude! Loved when I ran on the court for warmups and he would be on the game that night! Your smile & laugh will be missed tremendously here in our sport!”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver called Brown “one of the most accomplished referees in the NBA and an inspiration to his colleagues.”

“The entire NBA family mourns Tony’s passing and we send our deepest condolences to his wife, Tina; their children, Bailey, Basile and Baylen; and his fellow referees,” Silver said.