Eaton was found unconscious near his home in Summit County, Utah, after being involved in what appeared to be a bicycle accident on Friday, according to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. Eaton was taken to a nearby hospital where he died.
“The Utah Jazz are deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of Mark Eaton, who was a defining figure in our franchise history and who had a significant impact on the community following his basketball career,” said the Utah Jazz in a press release.
“His presence continued with the organization as a friend and ambassador while giving back as a businessman and volunteer to his adopted hometown of Utah. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Teri and their extended family. Mark will be sadly missed. with Jazz. “
According to the NBA, the 7-foot-4 Eaton was working in Arizona as an auto mechanic when a community college basketball coach noticed him in 1977. The coach convinced Eaton to join Cypress. College and he was then transferred to UCLA to play. Under the direction of legendary trainer John Wooden.
Eaton is a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and has the fourth-most block count in league history during his Utah career, among a host of defensive accolades.
He still holds the record for most blocked shots in a season, amassing 456 blocks in the 1984-85 season.
The Jazz retired its number 53 during the 1995-96 season.