12:14pm: The Buss family has released a statement, according to the Lakers' official website. It reads as follows:
"We not only have lost our cherished father, but a beloved man of our community and a person respected by the world basketball community.
"Dr. Buss had been hospitalized much of the past 18 months in a battle which showed his amazing strength and will to live. It was our father’s often stated desire and expectation that the Lakers remain in the Buss family. The Lakers have been our lives as well and we will honor his wish and do everything in our power to continue his unparalleled legacy."
10:07am: Longtime Lakers majority owner Jerry Buss passed away this morning, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). Buss, who was 80, had owned a majority share of the Lakers since 1979, having overseen 10 championship teams during his tenure.
Although his son Jim and daughter Jeanie had taken over many of the basketball and business decisions for the franchise, Buss had remained a part of the Lakers' decision-making process until he was recently hospitalized by health issues. Buss was being treated for cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Following a January column by Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register in which Ding speculated on what might become of Buss' 66% share of the Lakers when he eventually passed away, the Buss family released a statement refuting the idea that the team would be sold to an outside group.
"We unanimously agree that we have no intention of ever selling the Lakers, and intend to keep ownership of the team in our family for generations to come," the family said in the statement.