NBA referee Tony Brown dies at 55

Tony Brown, the longtime National Basketball Association (NBA) referee, has died at the age of 55, CNN reports

It is being reported that Brown’s passing is the result of complications from pancreatic cancer.

Brown was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, stage 4, back in April of 2021. After undergoing treatment, Brown got to a point at which he was actually able to return to work for the NBA.

Recently, however, things took a turn for the worst for Brown. He was forced to enter hospice care in Atlanta, Georgia, and it wasn’t long after that that he passed away.

Brown’s NBA career

Brown spent more than 20 seasons with the NBA. Before that, he also spent time with the WNBA and the CBA.

During Brown’s 20 seasons with the NBA, he officiated over 1,100 regular-season games and 35 playoff games. Brown, during his career, also had the honor of officiating two NBA All-Star Games and a game in the 2020 NBA finals.

Upon the news of his passing, NBA commissioner Adam Silver explained what Brown meant to the league, referring to him as “one of the most accomplished referees in the NBA and an inspiration to his colleagues.”

“The entire NBA family mourns Tony’s passing,” Silver said.


Many in the NBA have taken to social media to offer tributes to Brown following the news of his passing.

Among them is NBA Hall of Famer Ervin “Magic” Johnson, who wrote, “Rest in peace to veteran NBA referee Tony Brown! Thank you for everything you did for the game. Sending prayers to the entire Brown family!”

Earlier this year, Brown talked about his bout with cancer, saying:

I haven’t had time to sit around and be like, “Why me?” or “What am I going to do?” Me not fighting would have made me feel like I was letting people down. What kind of example was I going to be to my kids if I just laid in this bed and let it overtake me? I had to show my kids that there’s nothing in life that you can’t challenge and overcome if you have a positive mindset.

Upon the news of his passing, Brown’s wife, Tina Taylor-Brown, and his three children put out a statement, saying, “we are and have been sustained by the consistent outpouring of love and support through this journey in developing strength, acceptance, and peace.”