Former basketball star John 'Hot Rod' Williams loses battle with cancer at 53

Former basketball star John 'Hot Rod' Williams loses battle with cancer at 53

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB/AP) - John "Hot Rod" Williams has lost his battle with cancer.

The former Cleveland Cavaliers center passed away Friday. His agent, Mark Bartelstein, said Williams died Friday in a Baton Rouge hospital from complications related to prostate cancer. He was 53.

"He was humble but flamboyant," said high school basketball coach Gary Duhe. "He was humble when he was by himself, but he loved to dress the part."

Duhe coached "Hot Rod" in the 1981 Louisiana All-Star game and would later coach his son.

The two stayed in touch throughout the years. Duhe said that "Hot Rod" was a neat guy and an awesome competitor.

"He was always complementary of the discipline that we tried to instill in kids. Don't worry about just the basketball, but let's win in life. Let's make good grades, let's make sure you're respectful to your parents and your elders and everything and he bought into that," Duhe added.

The 6'11" Williams was Tulane's second all-time scorer. He spent his first nine NBA seasons with Cleveland and was a popular sixth man with the Cavaliers from 1986 to 1995. He then closed his career with shorter stints in Phoenix and Dallas, last playing in 1999.

Williams played in 887 NBA games, averaging 11 points and 6.8 rebounds. During the 1989-90 season, he averaged 16.8 points and 8.1 rebounds.

Copyright 2015 WAFB. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.