Former Sparks player Margo Dydek dies at 37
Margo Dydek, a former WNBA star who played with four teams in the professional women's basketball league, including the Sparks, died Friday in Brisbane, Australia, a week after suffering a heart attack. She was 37.
Cathy Roberts, the operations manager for the Northside Wizards in the Queensland Basketball League, where Dydek was head coach, confirmed her death.
The Poland-born Dydek, who was pregnant with her third child, suffered the heart attack on May 19. She collapsed at her home in Brisbane and was put in a medically induced coma.
Roberts said that Dydek was at an early stage in her pregnancy and that her unborn child had also died.
Dydek was the No. 1 pick in the 1998 WNBA draft by the Utah Starzz. She also played for San Antonio, Connecticut and the Sparks.
The 7-foot-2 Dydek was once said to be the tallest active professional female basketball player in the world.
She held the record for most blocks in a WNBA career, with 877 in 323 games, and led the league in blocks nine times, from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2005-07.
In August 2008, Dydek signed with the Sparks following time away from basketball due to the birth of her first son in April 2008.
An entry on Dydek's Facebook page says she was born April 28, 1974, in Warsaw, Poland, to a 6-foot-7 father and a 6-foot-3 mother. She had two sisters, and her elder sister, Kashka used to play for the Colorado Explosion of the now-defunct ABL, and in Poland.
Tina Thompson, a former teammate of Dydek's on the Sparks, said on the WNBA's Twitter feed: "My condolences to the family of Margo Dydek, may she rest in peace!"
The Brisbane-based Wizards posted a statement on their website Friday.
"Always in our hearts - Margo," it said. "With great sadness we acknowledge the passing of … Margo Dydek. Margo suffered a heart attack just over a week ago and passed away Friday 27th May, peacefully and surrounded by her family.
"You were a much-loved member of our community and we will miss you greatly. Our hearts go out to your family, David and your beautiful boys."
She is survived by her husband, David, and two sons, David, 3, and Alex, 7 months.
-- Associated Press
Photo: As a member of the Sparks, Margo Dydek faces off against Atlanta's Katie Feenstra in a 2008 WNBA game. Credit: Associated Press