Longtime Cavalier ‘Hot Rod’ Williams dies at age 53

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BATON ROUGE, La. — John “Hot Rod” Williams, a popular sixth man with the Cleveland Cavaliers from 1986 to 1995, has died.

Williams’ agent, Mark Bartelstein, says Williams died Friday in a Baton Rouge hospital from complications related to prostate cancer. He was 53.

The 6-foot-11 Williams was a Louisiana native who played at Tulane and was the school’s second all-time scorer. He spent his first nine NBA seasons with Cleveland, then closed his career with shorter stints in Phoenix and Dallas, last playing in 1999.

Williams played in 887 NBA games, averaging 11 points and 6.8 rebounds. During the 1989-90 season, he averaged 16.8 points and 8.1 rebounds.

Friday afternoon, the Cleveland Cavaliers released the statement below:

The entire Cavaliers family is deeply saddened with the news of John “Hot Rod” Williams’ passing. Hot Rod was, first and foremost, a great teammate, and also the kind of dependable person and player that made the Cavaliers organization proud during his almost decade-long time with the team. Hot Rod was the guy that willingly and pridefully drew the toughest defensive assignment. He was the kind of talented, unselfish and versatile player and person that earned the respect of everyone around him, including his teammates and opponents, and those who knew and worked with him off the court as well. In many respects, he was the humble embodiment and unsung hero of one of the most memorable and successful eras of Cavaliers basketball. Hot Rod will be greatly missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

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