Nate Huffman, an American basketball player who won acclaim with Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv, died Thursday at the age of 40, after a battle with cancer.
Michigan-born Huffman, who stood at a towering 7 feet 1 inch (2.16 meters), signed to Tel Aviv for the start of the 1999-2000 season, and remained with the club until July 2002, when he moved to Toronto.
Maccabi eulogized Huffman in a Twitter post on Thursday, calling him “one of the club’s greatest players and a wonderful person.” It also posted a series of tributes on Facebook, including a video of some of his outstanding moments for the team.
“Nate Huffman came to Maccabi Tel Aviv in summer 1999 as an unknown player from small Spanish club Fuenlabrada, and became one of the greatest players ever to wear the Maccabi uniform,” the club wrote in the accompanying message on Facebook.
Fans expressed shock at the sudden news, flooding the club’s Facebook page with condolence messages.
The Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Club deeply grieves the passing of Nate Huffman, one of the club's greatest players and a wonderful person.
— Maccabi Tel Aviv BC (@MaccabitlvBC) October 15, 2015
Maccabi said its players would wear black armbands to honor Huffman during Thursday night’s Euroleague game against CSKA Moscow in Russia.
During his three seasons at Maccabi, Huffman was named MVP by the Israeli Basketball League and the FIBA SuproLeague. The publication Basket News also named him the “Best American Player in Europe.”
His performance for Maccabi also saw him inducted into the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, despite the fact that he wasn’t Jewish.
Huffman announced on September 29 that he was terminally ill with Stage 4 bladder cancer, which had also spread to his lungs and liver. He is survived by his wife, Michelle, and his 6-year-old son, Christian.