(Reuters) - Anthony Mason, a former player with the National Basketball Association's New York Knicks, has died at the age of 48, the team said on Saturday.
The 13-year NBA veteran had severe heart problems, his son, Anthony Mason Jr., said in a statement quoted on the Knicks' web site.
"As you all would expect our father - Big Mase - put up an incredible fight," Mason Jr. said.
Mason was a 6-foot, 7-inch (two-meter) forward from Tennessee State University, who played with the Knicks from 1991 to 1996. A fan favorite, he was a key player in the 1993-1994 Eastern Conference Champion team.
“As a competitor, there was none fiercer than Anthony Mason," said Knicks President Phil Jackson in the team statement. A former Chicago Bulls coach, Jackson said he remembered how Mason, wearing number 14, always stood out in the great Chicago-New York battles of the 1990s.
"On behalf of the entire Knickerbocker community, our condolences go out to his family. Rest in peace, Mase,” Jackson said.
Mason won the NBA's Sixth Man Award in 1995 as a member of the Knicks.
He also played with the Charlotte Hornets, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat. In 2001, Mason was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star squad.
Reporting By Frank McGurty and Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Stephen Powell