Hall of Famer and humanitarian Twyman dies at age 78

Hall of Famer Jack Twyman, a standout player in college and the National Basketball Association (NBA) and a champion for a paralyzed former team mate, died on Wednesday at the age of 78.

Twyman, who starred for the University of Cincinnati and with the NBA Rochester and Cincinnati Royals franchise (now the Sacramento Kings) in the 1950s and early ���60s, died at a Cincinnati hospice of complications from blood cancer.

The sweet-shooting forward was a six-time NBA All-Star with the Royals and was also remembered for his relationship with team mate Maurice Stokes, a budding star player who became paralyzed after hitting his head on the floor in the final game of the Royals' 1957-58 season.

Twyman raised money for Stokes through charity basketball games and golf tournaments and became his legal guardian to assist with his care-taking and medical bills.

"The Basketball Hall of Fame and the game of basketball not only lost an incredible athlete but also an incredible man," John L. Doleva, president of the Basketball Hall of Fame said in a statement. "Jack will always be remembered for his hard work and his huge heart."

After the death of Stokes in 1970 at the age of 36, Twyman continued his fund-raising to help other needy former players.

On the basketball court, Twyman finished his college career as Cincinnati's all-time leading scorer and in 1960 he averaged a career high 31.2 points a game for the Royals, with whom he played his entire 11-year professional career.

A successful businessman, Twyman also worked as a TV analyst on NBA network broadcasts and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983.

(Reporting By Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)