Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, newly banned from basketball over racist comments attributed to him, has been battling prostate cancer, sports network ESPN and other media reported on Thursday.
The reports come after the National Basketball Association launched a bid on Thursday to oust the 80-year-old as owner of the franchise, as urged by league Commissioner Adam Silver.
ESPN, citing unnamed sources, reported that Sterling has cancer. The New York Post, which first reported the news, also cited unnamed sources as saying Sterling has been battling prostate cancer for an extended period of time.
Reuters could not independently confirm these reports. Officials for the Clippers and the NBA did not immediately return requests for comment.
Silver on Tuesday declared Sterling banned from the NBA for life, fined him $2.5 million — the league maximum — and called on the 29 other club owners who make up the governing board to exercise their authority to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.
The scandal has angered fans and players, and numerous commercial sponsors have pulled their support from the team, before and after the NBA moved to expel Sterling.
Sterling was banned from any further ties with his team or professional basketball, and stripped of his seat on the NBA governing board, days after two websites released audio recordings in which a voice said to be Sterling's is heard criticizing a female friend for "associating with black people".
Silver said Tuesday that Sterling has acknowledged to the NBA that the recording was authentic but did not apologize.
© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.