Former Chicago Bulls center Tom Boerwinkle has died at age 67 after a long illness.
Boerwinkle, a 7-footer, spent his entire career in Chicago after the Bulls drafted him in the first round out of the University of Tennessee in 1968.
He averaged 7.2 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists on teams that included Chet Walker, Bob Love, Jerry Sloan and Norm Van Lier. Boerwinkle set a Bulls record with 37 rebounds in a game against Phoenix on Jan. 8, 1970, and a team season record in 1970-71 with 1,133 boards.
"We were all heartbroken this morning to learn of the passing of Tom Boerwinkle," Bulls executive vice president of business operations Steve Schanwald said. "In addition to being one of the Bulls' all-time great players, Tom was one of the kindest men you would ever want to meet with the gentlest of souls. A true gentle giant who made great contributions to the Chicago Bulls organization on and off the court. We will miss him greatly."
Boerwinkle also served as a Bulls radio broadcaster from 1991 to 1994.
"Tom was a once-in-a-lifetime guy," former Tennessee teammate Bill Justus said. "When you meet a guy like him and have him as a teammate, he becomes a brother to you, and there's no replacing someone like that.
"Despite his sheer size and presence, he was as genuine and loyal as can be. That's not just me saying that; those are the sentiments of many, many of his former teammates. What a gentle giant we've lost ... one of our best friends."
Boerwinkle is survived by his wife, Linda, a son, Jeff, and a daughter, Gretchen.