Alexandra "Sasha" McHale, the 22-year-old daughter of Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale, died Saturday after a battle with lupus. Sasha had been hospitalized since November 10.
McHale immediately took a leave of absence from the Rockets to be by his family's side in Minnesota, The Associated Press reports.
The Rockets announced that assistant coach Kelvin Sampson would be in charge while McHale was away.
Under Sampson's leadership, the Rockets have beaten the Detroit Pistons on November 10, lost to the Miami Heat November 12, beat the New Orleans Hornets on November 16, and then went on a small losing streak against the Portland Trail Blazers, LA Lakers, Utah Jazz. The team snapped the losing streak with a win against the Chicago Bulls, and then blew out the New York Knicks Friday November 23. The team is scheduled to take on the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday November 27.
"Kevin a devoted family man who is needed back home in Minnesota at the moment," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said. "The Rockets organization will keep Kevin and his family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."
Sasha died Saturday afternoon, USA Today reports.
"I extend my my deepest condolences to Kevin and Lynn for the loss of their beautiful daughter, Sasha, on Saturday afternoon," Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said in a statement. "Kevin and Lynn are loving and dedicated parents who will need our continued support throughout this very difficult time. Our entire organization is mourning the McHale family's loss and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers."
"Heartbroken for Kevin and Lynn McHale and family. Sending prayers their way following the loss of their daughter, Sasha, Minnesota-based AP Sports Writer Jon Krawczynski tweeted Sunday.
Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden also offered his condolences via Twitter Sunday morning. "Praying for Coach McHale and his family," Harden wrote.
Former player for the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks and current assistant GM of the Knicks tweeted : "Praying for the family of Kevin McHale. May God give you strength, comfort & peace."