Kenny Heitz, a three-time national champion with the UCLA Bruins and NBA draft pick, has died after a long battle with cancer, the school confirmed Tuesday.
He was 65 years old.
“The Bruin family mourns the passing of Kenny Heitz,” said UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. “He was an integral member of three NCAA championships teams, a starter for the freshman team that won the first game ever played in Pauley Pavilion and a model student-athlete. He was a success in his chosen profession and, most importantly, a loving husband and father. Kenny fought valiantly against his illness as long as he could.”
Heitz was part of perhaps the most dominating dynasty in NCAA history, as the Bruins went 88-2 during his three seasons in Westwood and captured those three national titles.
Along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Heitz was drafted in 1969 by the Milwaukee Bucks. While still in summer training camp, Heitz began classes at Harvard Law School, where he earned a degree three years later.
He became a prominent lawyer in the Los Angeles area and was recognized for his work in commercial litigation and corporate law over the course of his career.
“The UCLA basketball family was a great comfort to Ken throughout his battle with cancer,” said Heitz’s wife, Linda. “The constant stream of visits and calls from his UCLA teammates of over 40 years ago including Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), Mike Warren, Shack (Lynn Shackelford), Andy Hill, Kenny Washington, Coach (Ben) Howland and so many others connected to the program, helped him through his fight and always raised his spirits.”
Heitz is survived by his wife and three daughters.