Hall of Famer and Celtics legend Jo Jo White dies at age 71

Boston Celtics legend Jo Jo White, who helped the franchise return to glory in the 1970s after Bill Russell’s retirement, lost his battle with cancer at age 71, the team announced on Tuesday night.

The Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett first reported the news.

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Jo Jo White through the years
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Jo Jo White through the years
1974- Close up of Jo Jo White, basketball player for the Boston Celtics in uniform. Undated color slide.
BOSTON - UNDATED: Jo Jo White #10 of the Boston Celtics shoots a free throw during an NBA game circa 1969-1979 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1969 NBAE (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)
BOSTON - 1972: JoJo White #10 of the Boston Celtics moves the ball up court during a game played in 1972 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1972 NBAE (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 22: Boston Celtics Jo Jo White, center, runs for the ball during a game against the Phoenix Suns at the Boston Garden in Boston, Feb. 22, 1972. Also pictured are Neal Walk, left, and Clem Haskins, right. (Photo by Dan Goshtigian/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Boston, MA - 1974: Jo Jo White #10 of the Boston Celtics shoots a free throw during a game circa 1974 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1974 NBAE (Photo by Courtesy of Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)
BOSTON - 1975: JoJo White #10 of the Boston Celtics talks to the media following a game played in 1975 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1975 NBAE (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - CIRCA 1975: Jo Jo White #10 of the Boston Celtics shoots against the Washington Bullets during an NBA basketball game circa 1975 at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. White played for the Celtics from 1969-79. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - CIRCA 1975: Jo Jo White #10 of the Boston Celtics looks to pass the ball against the Washington Bullets during an NBA basketball game circa 1975 at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. White played for the Celtics from 1969-79. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - CIRCA 1975: Jo Jo White #10 of the Boston Celtics shoots against the Washington Bullets during an NBA basketball game circa 1975 at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. White played for the Celtics from 1969-79. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
BOSTON - 1976: JoJo White #10 of the Boston Celtics looks to pass during a game played in 1976 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1976 NBAE (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - CIRCA 1976: Jo Jo White #10 of the Boston Celtics watches the action from the bench against the Washington Bullets during an NBA basketball game circa 1976 at the Capital Centre in Baltimore, Maryland. White played for the Celtics from 1969-78. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 12: Celtics' Jo Jo White during a game against the Indiana Packers at the Boston Garden, Jan. 12, 1977. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 1: Jo Jo White, left, sits with Boston Celtics' team doctor Tom Silva, right, before a game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Boston Garden in Boston, Feb. 1, 1978. (Photo by Frank O'Brien/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
ATLANTA - FEBRUARY 9: Portrait of former Boston Celtic JoJo White during the 2003 All-Star Weekend on February 9, 2003 in Atlanta, Georgia. He led the Celtics as MVP of 1975-76 NBA Championship Finals. Legends Portraits NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice: Copyright 2003 NBAE (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images)
BOSTON - NOVEMBER 01: Former Boston Celtic JoJo White speaks as part of the tribute to the late Arnold 'Red' Auerbach at halftime of the NBA game between the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets and the Boston Celtics on November 1, 2006 at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2006 NBAE (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty Images)
BOSTON - SEPTEMBER 20: Celtics Hall of famer Jo Jo White, left, greets Earvin Magic Johnson, Jr. as the two met each other at the preview of the new Mezzo Design Lofts in Charlestown. Johnson and the Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund joined local partner Cathartes Private Investments , and Mass. State Treasurer Tim Cahill to show the condo development featuring 146 units near Sullivan Square. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 4: Jeff Green #8 of the Boston Celtics greets former NBA player Jo Jo White before the game against the Indiana Pacers on January 4, 2013 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 2: Former Celtics players Jo Jo White and Leon Powe attend Champions for Children's Gala at Seaport World Trade Center benefitting Boston Children's Hospital December 2, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images for BCH)
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 2: Basketball Hall of Fame inductees and former Boston Celtics Tommy Heinsohn, left, and Jo Jo White are greater by Allen Craig #5 of the Boston Red Sox after throwing out ceremonial first pitches at Fenway Park on September 2, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 12: JoJo White, John Havlicek and Glenn McDonald of the Boston Celtics honored the 1966, 1976, and 1986 Championship teams at a special dinner event on April 12, 2016 at the Liberty Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 24: Boston Celtics alumni Jo Jo White, right, points to an attendant who called out his name to thank him as City Councilor Salvatore LaMattina, left, dishes out food beside him at TD Garden's annual charitable event, 'Table of Friends' which serves hot meals to Boston area homeless in Boston on Nov. 24, 2015. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - APRIL 12: In between the first and second quarters, the Celtics paid tribute to former guard and newly elected basketball Hall of Famer Jo Jo White, who stood in his seat in the stands and acknowledged the cheers of the crowd. The Boston Celtics hosted the Cleveland Cavaliers in a regular season NBA game at the TD Garden. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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White played 10 seasons for the Celtics before finishing his career with the Golden State Warriors and Kansas Cit Kings, making seven straight All-Star appearances and winning two NBA titles in Boston alongside John Havlicek and Dave Cowens. The 1976 Finals MVP’s No. 10 hangs in the rafters of TD Garden, and he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s class of 2015.

“We are terribly saddened by the passing of the great Jo Jo White,” the Celtics said in a statement. “He was a champion and a gentleman; supremely talented and brilliant on the court, and endlessly gracious off of it. Jo Jo was a key member of two championship teams, an NBA Finals MVP, a gold medal-winning Olympian, and a Hall of Famer. His contributions to the team’s championship legacy may have only been surpassed by the deep and lasting impact that he had in the community. The thoughts and sympathies of the entire Celtics organization are with the White family.”

White played four seasons at the University of Kansas and won a gold medal as a member of the U.S. men’s national team at the 1968 Summer Olympics before the Celtics drafted him ninth overall in 1969.

Also drafted by the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds, White served one year in the U.S. Marine Corp Reserves before beginning his NBA career. Following his retirement in 1981, White later rejoined the Celtics as director of special projects, a role he served until his death.

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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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