One of Maccabi Tel Aviv's greatest players ever, Nate Huffman, passed away at the age of 40 on Thursday, only several weeks after discovering he was ill with terminal cancer.
Huffman was diagnosed with stage IV bladder cancer, with the cancer spreading throughout his body to his lymph nodes, liver and lungs.
"The Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Club deeply grieves the passing of Nate Huffman, one of the club's greatest players and a wonderful person," the club wrote on Twitter.
The Battle Creek, Michigan native joined Maccabi from Spanish club Fuenlabrada in the summer of 1999. In three seasons with Maccabi, he helped the team to three local championships, three State Cups and one European FIBA SuproLeague title in 2001, with the yellow-and-blue reaching the Final Four in all three of his seasons in Tel Aviv.
After his success in Israel, he was signed in 2002 to a three-year, $5.2 million contract by the Toronto Raptors of the NBA. He played just seven games for the team due to a knee injury before being released by Toronto in January 2003. An independent arbitrator ruled a year later that the Raptors must pay Huffman the remaining $2.56 million on his terminated contract.
Maccabi players will wear black armbands in honor of Huffman in Thursday night's Euroleague game against CSKA Moscow in Russia.
"Nate was a giant - not only in height and playing ability, but also in heart, radiating love and warmth to everyone around him. We will miss him very much," said Maccabi chairman Shimon Mizrahi.
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