Buss had been hospitalized for cancer, but died of kidney failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Monday, said his assistant, Bob Steiner.
Paying $67.5 million when he first bought the the Lakers from Jack Kent Cooke (in a deal that also included the N.H.L.'s L.A. Kings, the L.A. Forum sports arena and Cooke’s California ranch), Buss saw their value increase to $1 billion, according to a Forbes ranking in January, reports The New York Times.
That made the team second in the N.B.A. to the New York Knicks’ $1.1 billion valuation.
During his 32 years with the Lakers, Buss's team made the N.B.A finals 16 times (through 2011), winning 10 titles between 1980 and 2010.
At just 24, Buss earned a Ph.D. in chemistry and later had careers in aerospace and real estate development.
Buss is survived by his six children.
As news of his death traveled, athletes and celebrities took to Twitter to share their condolences.
I'm deeply saddened over da loss of the great Dr. Jerry Buss.He was a dear friend, mentor,and brilliant business mind thank u4 8 gr8 yrs— SHAQ (@SHAQ) February 18, 2013
Today is a very sad day for all the Lakers and basketball. All my support and condolences to the Buss family. Rest in peace Dr. Buss.— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) February 18, 2013
More than just an owner. Sad say because we lost you, Dr. Buss. RIP. twitter.com/JonahHill/stat…— Jonah Hill (@JonahHill) February 18, 2013
RIP Dr Jerry Buss— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) February 18, 2013
Dr. Jerry Buss, 1934 - 2013 twitter.com/LakerNation/st…— Laker Nation (@LakerNation) February 18, 2013