Lakers Owner Jerry Buss — Dead at 79

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Jerry Buss — owner of the Los Angeles Lakers — died early this morning at the age of 79, this according to multiple reports.

Buss had been hospitalized for the past few months due to a previously undisclosed intestinal problem … though it was revealed yesterday he”d been battling cancer the entire time.

After starting his career as a chemist, Buss soon found his true calling in the real estate biz … snapping up properties all over L.A. before moving on to the sporting world.

In 1979, Buss made history when he purchased the Lakers, the L.A. Kings and The Forum for $67.5 million — at that time, the largest transaction in sports.

Under his ownership, Buss watched dozens of all-time greats — including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Shaquille O”Neal and Kobe Bryant — win the Lakers 10 NBA Championships. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.

Buss was also an avid poker player … and appeared on several TV shows, including “High Stakes Poker” and “Poker After Dark.”

He is survived by his six children.