Hall of Famer and women's basketball icon Anne Donovan dies at 56

Women’s basketball icon Anne Donovan, who won two Olympic gold medals and was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995, died Wednesday of heart failure. She was 56.

“While it is extremely difficult to express how devastating it is to lose Anne, our family remains so very grateful to have been blessed with such a wonderful human being,” Donovan’s family said in a statement. “Anne touched many lives as a daughter, sister, aunt, friend and coach.”

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SAO PAULO - SEPTEMBER 22: Anne Donovan, head coach of USA, gives instructions to Alana Beard #4 during a practice for Team USA during the 2006 FIBA World Championship For Women at Pinheiros on September 22, 2006 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. 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 Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Anne Donovan (R), head coach of the U.S. women's basketball team, talks to her players Tamika Catchings (L), Seimone Augustus (2nd L) and Candace Parker during their Group B women's basketball game against the Czech Republic at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 9, 2008. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (CHINA)
Inglewood, CA - 1984: (L-R) Anne Donovan, Cathy Boswell, Cheryl Miller, US teamWomen's basketball medal ceremony, The Forum, at the 1984 Summer Olympics, August 7, 1984. (Photo by ABC via Getty Images)
Basketball players (L-R) Candace Parker, Alana Beard, Katie Smith and head coach Anne Donovan of the U.S. react during their Women's World Championship basketball game in Sao Paulo September 23, 2006. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker (BRAZIL)
Anne Donovan, head coach of the U.S. women's basketball team, cheers on her team during their Group B game against China at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 11, 2008. REUTERS/Sergio Perez (CHINA)
UNCASVILLE, CT - AUGUST 28: WNBA President Laurel J. Richie and Chiney Ogwumike of the Connecticut Sun pose with Sun Head Coach Anne Donovan and team and Mohegan Sun executives at the 2014 WNBA Rookie Of The Year Award press conference on August 28, 2014 at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. 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 2014 NBAE (Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images)
Anne Donovan, head coach of the Connecticut Sun, on the sideline during the Connecticut Sun Vs New York Liberty WNBA regular season game at Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. 16th May 2014. Photo Tim Clayton (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
July 31, 2015: Connecticut Sun Head Coach Anne Donovan and Connecticut Sun Guard Jasmine Thomas (6) dicus a play. The Connecticut Sun's host the Seattle Storm at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The Sun defeat the Storm 67-66. (Photo by Williams Paul/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
Head Coach Anne Donovan, Connecticut Sun, high fives Alyssa Thomas during the Connecticut Sun Vs Tulsa Shock WNBA regular season game at Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. 3rd July 2014. Photo Tim Clayton (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
UNCASVILLE, CT - SEPTEMBER 13: Anne Donovan and Alyssa Thomas #25 of the Connecticut Sun shake hands on the bench against the Chicago Sky on September 13, 2015 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. 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 2015 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Anne Donovan, Head Coach of the Connecticut Sun, on the side line during the Connecticut Sun V Washington Mystics WNBA regular season game at Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. 7th June 2013. Photo Tim Clayton (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
Aug 1984: Anne Donovan of the United States goes up for two during a game against Korea. Mandatory Credit: Alvin Chung /Allsport
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 19: Anne Donovan attends the game of the New York Liberty against the Connecticut Sun on May 19, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. 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 2012 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
HARTFORD, CONN. - MARCH 2, 2012: Anne Donovan, head coach of the Seton Hall Pirates goes over the play during a time out against the Villanova University Wildcats during the first round of the 2012 BIG EAST Conference Women's Basketball Championships at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut on March 2, 2012. The Wildcats won 61-60. (Photo by Bob Stowell/BIG EAST Conference/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - AUGUST 26: Head Coach Anne Donovan of the New York Liberty directs her team during Game One of the 2010 WNBA Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Indiana Fever on August 26, 2010 at the Madison Square Garden in New York City. 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 2010 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS - AUGUST 3: Head coach Anne Donovan of the New York Liberty is seen during the game against the Indiana Fever at Conseco Fieldhouse on August 3, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Liberty won 82-72. 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 2010 NBAE (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
AUBURN HILLS, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: Head coach Anne Donovan talks to Ashely Battle #22 and Shameka Christon #20 of the New York Liberty during the WNBA game against the Detroit Shock on September 10, 2009 at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The Shock won in overtime 94-87. 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 2009 NBAE (Photo by Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
TARRYTOWN, NY - MAY 12: Cappie Pondexter #23, Janel McCarville #4 and Anne Donovan of the New York Liberty pose for a photo during WNBA Media Day on May 12, 2010 at the MSG Training Facility in Tarrytown, New York. 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 2010 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS - AUGUST 3: Head coach Anne Donovan of the New York Liberty watches during the game against the Indiana Fever at Conseco Fieldhouse on August 3, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Liberty won 82-72. 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 2010 NBAE (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - AUGUST 16: Head Coach Anne Donovan of the New York Liberty looks on against the Washington Mystics at the Verizon Center on August 16, 2009 in Washington, DC. 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 2009 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
ATLANTA - AUGUST 1: Head Coach Anne Donovan of the New York Liberty gives instructions during a timeout against the Atlanta Dream at Philips Arena on August 1, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. 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 2009 NBAE. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Cappie Pondexter of the United States hugs coach Anne Donovan to celebrate winning gold on Saturday, August 23, 2008, in the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing, China. (Photo by Joe Rimkus Jr./Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images)
BEIJING - AUGUST 23: Head Coach Anne Donovan, Cappie Pondexter #4 and Tina Thompson #11 of the U.S. Women's Senior National Team celebrate after winning the gold medal against Australia at the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium on Day 15 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 23, 2008 in Beijing, China. USA defeated Australia 92-65. 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 2008 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MD - OCTOBER 31: Head Coach Anne Donovan of the United States National Team watches the game against the Maryland Terrapins October 31, 2007 at Comcast Center in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - MAY 31: Head coach Anne Donovan and Lisa Leslie #9 speak to the media during the announcement of the USAB Women's Senior National Team prior to the Washington Mystics against the Los Angeles Sparks at the Verizon Center on May 31, 2008 in Washington, DC. 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 2008 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
PALO ALTO, CA - JULY 30: Sylvia Fowles of the Women's Senior National Team and Head Coach Anne Donovan (L) are seen at practice on July 30, 2008 at Maples Pavilion at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. 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 2008 NBAE (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JULY 22: Head coach Anne Donovan of the Seattle Storm gives a hand signal during the game against the New York Liberty at Madison Square Garden on July 22, 2006 in New York, New York. The Storm won 91-54. 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 Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - SEPTEMBER 20: (L to R) Gail Goestenkors assistant coach, Dawn Staley assistant coach, Anne Donovan head coach, and Mike Thibault assistant coach, pose during a portrait session for Team USA during the 2006 FIBA World Championship For Women at Pinheiros on September 20, 2006 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. 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 Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - AUGUST 20: Head Coach Anne Donovan of the Seattle Storm watches the game from the sidelines against the Sacramento Monarchs on August 20, 2005 at Arco Arena in Sacramento, California. The Monarchs won 75-65. NOTE TO USER: User expressly aknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copright Notice: Copyright 2005 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
SEATTLE - APRIL 25: Head coach Anne Donovan of the Seattle Storm Media Day poses for a portrait April 25, 2005 in Seattle, Washington. 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 2005 NBAE. (Photo by Jeff Reinking/NBAE via Getty Images)
SEATTLE - MAY 21: Head Coach Anne Donovan (L) of the Seattle Storm receives her 2004 Championship ring from WNBA President Donna Orender prior to the game against the Los Angeles Sparks at Key Arena on May 21, 2005 in Seattle, Washington. 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. (Photo by Otto Greule/Getty Images)
SEATTLE - OCTOBER 12: Coach Anne Donovan of the Seattle Storm is hugged as Sue Bird's stepdad Dennis Burden (2nd R)looks on after the Storm defeated the Connecticut Sun 74-60 in the WNBA Finals on October 12, 2004 at Key Arena in Seattle, Washington. 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. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE - OCTOBER 12: Seattle Storm coach Anne Donovan and the players celebrate a 74-60 victory in the WNBA championships against the Connecticut Sun on October 12, 2004 at Key Arena in Seattle, Washington. 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. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SPRINGFIELD, MA - SEPTEMBER 27: Anne Donovan speaks about Kay Yow as she gets inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame at a ceremony at the Springfield Civic Center on September 27, 2002 in Springfield, 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 Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE/Getty Images)
29 APR 2002: Head Coach Anne Donovan of the Charlotte Sting poses with assistant coaches Cheryl Reeve and Yrudi Lacey during WNBA media day at the Charlotte Hornets training facility in Fort Mill, South Carolina. DIGITAL IMAGE 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 2002 WNBAE. Mandatory credit: Garrett W. Ellwood/WNBAE/Getty Images.
Inglewood, CA - 1984: (L-R) Cheryl Miller, Anne Donovan, Women's basketball competition, US vs. South Korea, The Forum, at the 1984 Summer Olympics, August 7, 1984. (Photo by ABC via Getty Images)
NORFOLK, VA- CIRCA 1985: Anne Donovan #22 of the Old Dominion University Monarchs shoots the ball at the Constant Center in Norfolk Virginia. (Photo by Old Dominion/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)
Inglewood, CA - 1984: (L-R) Cheryl Miller, Anne Donovan, Women's basketball competition, US vs. Canada, The Forum, at the 1984 Summer Olympics, August 5, 1984. (Photo by Tony Triolo /ABC via Getty Images)
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Donovan was a native of New Jersey and a former college basketball player at Old Dominion. There, from 1979-83, she averaged 20 points and 14.5 rebounds. She also led the Lady Monarchs three Final 4’s.

At both the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, Donovan was key in two United States of America gold medals. Following a five-year professional stint, Donovan retired in 1989. She then became a coach, and navigated the Seattle Storm to a WNBA Championship in 2004.

“Anne was a person with strong faith, courageous spirit, a giving heart and love for everyone,” her family’s statement added. “We are so proud of her accomplishments as a women’s’ basketball player and coach, but even more proud of her character, integrity, humility and kindness.”

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