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Former Knick Anthony Mason is dead at the age of 48 after suffering a massive heart attack earlier this month.

Madison Square Garden observed a moment of silence before Saturday's Georgetown-St. John's game, and tributes to Mason came pouring in from his family, former teammates and those around the NBA.

"First, I want to thank all those who offered prayers and well-wishes for my Father, our family really appreciated it," Anthony Mason Jr. said in a statement released via St. John's. "Overnight New York City and the world lost a legend, a friend, a brother..but more than anything our father, Anthony Mason. As you all would expect our father -- Big Mase -- put up an incredible fight dealing with a severe heart issues. I'm wishing this was something else I was writing, but Pops we've got to let you know we love you and know you'll always be with us.

"I ask at this time that you respect our family's privacy with regard to questions as our family takes the time to mourn."

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement: "Anthony Mason exemplified perseverance for all players fighting for their chance in the NBA.  With a gritty style of play and a distinctive skill set, he blossomed from a third-round draft pick into a Sixth Man award-winner, All-NBA selection and, at age 34, an All-Star. NBA players and fans around the league admired his tenacity on defense and playmaking on offense. Our deepest sympathies go out to the Mason family at this time."

Patrick Ewing, who teamed with Mason on those tough and physical 90s Knicks teams, said: " "My heart is heavy after learning we lost Anthony Mason last night. We were teammates on the Knicks for five great seasons. Mase came to play every night and was always ready to go to battle with me every time we stepped on the court together. I will remember him for his strength, determination and perseverance. My thoughts are with his family. May he rest in peace"

Charles Oakley, Mason's former front court partner, Tweeted: "MY MAN MY MAN A. MASON R.I.P, WE GONNA MISS U BROTHER."

Knicks President Phil Jackson, who coached the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls when Mason was a Knick, said: "As a competitor, there was none fiercer than Anthony Mason. Standing on the opposite end of the playing field, coaching in those great Chicago/New York battles, No. 14 in the Orange and Blue always stood out. On behalf of the entire Knickerbocker community, our condolences go out to Lahis family. Rest in peace, Mase.”

Just earlier this week, Antoine Mason, a senior guard a Auburn, had told that his father was "getting better.  Mason had been hospitalized in New York following the heart attack and congestive heart failure earlier this month.

"I actually spoke to him today," Antoine, a senior guard at Auburn, told on Monday. "He can't talk yet, but he can hear things and respond by blinking and shaking his head and things like that. When I talked to him, my mom and him, they're telling me he's getting better."

A bruising power forward who was the heart and soul of the Knicks teams of the mid-1990s, he played 13 seasons in the NBA and made the All-Star team in 2000-01.

Photo: NY Daily News

Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider for You can follow him on Twitter.

Tags: Knicks , Adam Zagoria
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