Former national basketball star Simone Edwards dies at age 49 Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Jamaica’s former Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star, Simone Edwards has died in the USA at age 49 following a prolonged battle with ovarian cancer.

Edwards was the first Jamaican to play in the WNBA, an American professional basketball league. She signed with the New York Liberty in the inaugural WNBA season in 1997.

She played internationally in Hungary, Spain, Israel, and Italy before returning to the USA to play with the Seattle Storm where she won a WNBA championship in 2004.

Her death was announced by Seattle Storm on its Instagram page on Thursday night.

“We are saddened by the passing of our very own Simone Edwards,” Seattle Storm posted. “Our Jamaican Hurricane was a warrior on and off the court. With her indefatigable energy and optimism, not to mention her welcoming smile, she brought happiness to so many lives. Our thoughts and condolences are with Simone’s family and loved ones during this difficult time.”

She retired from the WNBA in 2006.

Edwards represented Jamaica for eight years and won the CBC championship.

On August 5, 2007, Edwards was hired as an assistant coach at Radford University and she was an assistant at George Mason University from 2008-2011.

Edwards coached the Jamaican women’s national basketball team and led them to a 2014 Caribbean Championship. She also served as coordinator of the national youth basketball team programme.

She was awarded the Order of Distinction (OD) in 2017.

Sports minister Olivia Grange expressed shock at Edwards’ passing.

“It is with shock and sadness that I learned a short while ago of the death of Simone Edwards who was perhaps Jamaica’s best female basketball player of all time,” posted Grange on her Instagram page. “Simone certainly made her name internationally playing in the WNBA in the United States.

“Jamaica and the basketball fraternity have lost a super athlete with the passing of Simone and I extend sincerest condolences to her family, relatives, former team members, and friends.”