Nick Gilbert, son of Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, dies at 26

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Nick , son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, has passed away. (AP Photo/Jason Dicro, File)

Ira Kaufman Chappell announced that Nick Gilbert, known by some NBA fans as the lucky draft lottery representative of the Cleveland Cavaliers, has died at the age of 26. A funeral announcement posted by the Southfield, Michigan, chapel said Gilbert died Saturday “peacefully at home surrounded by family.”

Gilbert was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis (NF1) as a child. The genetic condition causes noncancerous tumors to grow along the nerves. there is no cure.

Nick's father, Dan Gilbert, is the founder and chairman of Rocket Companies and has owned the Cavaliers since 2005.

Dan sent his son to the NBA draft lottery several times to fill the Cavaliers' chair. Nick was never without his signature bow tie and watched the team take the No. 1 pick twice while sitting in the chair.

In 2011, a 14-year-old Gilbert was asked about his experience with the genetic condition and his view of his father being a “personal hero”.

“What's not to like?” he said to the draft lottery chair. “I'm the oldest of five. I've had a good life. I'm going through this disease, but I'm going to go through it while I'm getting better.”

The Cavaliers used the No. 1 pick on Kyrie , who went on to become an All-Star and won a title in 2016 with LeBron James.

The Gilbert family resides in Michigan. He launched a foundation in 2017, and according to The Detroit News, it has funded more than $18 million in research grants to find a cure for type 1 neurofibromatosis.

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Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan expressed his condolences on Twitter.

He wrote, “Nick inspired people everywhere with his bravery and brought joy to everyone.” “All of Detroit has the Gilbert family in our prayers today.”

Earlier this season, the Cavaliers announced That's when the team teamed up with the Gilbert Foundation and the Children's Tumor Foundation to launch a bow tie campaign to raise awareness and funds for neurofibromatosis research.

The team also dedicated the season to Nick Gilbert and other neurofibromatosis patients, wearing bowtie emblems during their warm-ups.