Monday, April 27, 2009 | 7:50 p.m.
- Glen Gondrezick talks about how much prayers meant to him. (Oct. 2008)
- Gondrezick talks about what he's looking forward to. (Oct. 2008)
- Gondrezick talks about reaching out his donor's family. (Oct. 2008)
- Shark Bytes blog by Jerry Tarkanian: Gondo, Reggie and Charles (11-17-2008)
- For Gondo, no place like home (10-21-2008)
- Gondo home after heart transplant (10-16-2008)
- Gondo watching Oprah, still making progress (10-7-2008)
- Former UNLV soccer star reaching out to Gondo (10-1-2008)
- Gondo released from UCLA Medical Center (9-28-2008)
- Gondo: ‘I’m goin for a walk’ (9-23-2008)
- Gondo’s heart transplant: ‘So far, so good’ (9-20-2008)
Glen Gondrezick, the UNLV basketball Hall of Famer who received a heart transplant in September, died today at St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Henderson, apparently as a result of complications due to the surgery.
He was 53.
Bonnie Griffin, a close acquaintance, said he died around 5:30 p.m. while waiting to be airlifted to UCLA Medical Center after becoming ill.
Gondrezick was one of the stars of UNLV's first Final Four team, averaging 14.7 points and leading the 1976-77 Rebels in rebounding. He was a second-round draft pick of the New York Knicks and spent six seasons in the NBA, two with the Knicks and four with the Denver Nuggets. His most productive pro season was 1981-82 when he appeared in 80 games for the Nuggets, averaging 8.3 points off the bench.
After he retired from professional basketball, Gondrezick returned to UNLV where he served as the Rebels' broadcast analyst for the past 17 seasons.
Gondrezick had been suffering from heart disease for nearly 10 years. He was placed at the top of the transplant list shortly after the 2008 UNLV basketball season and finally received a donor heart on Sept. 20 of last year. Although he returned to his broadcast duties and seemed on the road to recovery his health recently took a turn for the worse.
In a March 29 interview with the Sun, Gondrezick said he started feeling ill during the Rebels' final road trip of the season at San Diego State.
Since the transplant, he had been making monthly trips to UCLA Medical Center where doctors were monitoring his progress. Griffin said his next scheduled appointment in Los Angeles was going to be May 6.
She said she last spoke to Gondo, which is what his friends and teammates called him, at around 4 p.m. today. She said although he still wasn't feeling well, he was conversing freely with friends and medical personnel at that time and appeared to be in good spirits.
Soon after that, she said, his blood pressure began to fluctuate.
"It happened all at once," Griffin said, trying to hold back tears.
Former Rebels coach Jerry Tarkanian said he was crushed to hear of Gondrezick's death because the last time they spoke, he looked and sounded good.
"I'm just so devastated, so sad," Tarkanian said when reached tonight. "He was the most competitive guy, and the toughest. He'd take a charge on anything that moved. He was incredible."
Tarkanian said that while Gondrezick's legacy will be helping lead the Hardway Eight to the Final Four with his hard-nosed style and tenacity, he'll remember him more for another trait.
"We always talked about being loyal to UNLV, and Gondo epitomized that," Tark said.
"I just loved that guy."
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Thomas & Mack Center at UNLV.