Saunders’ death stunned many, including Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, who said last week he had been in touch with the Minnesota Timberwolves head coach about his own battle with cancer.
“Out of respect and condolences to his family, that was a shock,” Farrell said Monday of Saunders’ death. “Knowing how he was progressing at one point through the treatment, and then a couple or three weeks ago text messages were going un-replied to, and then to be saddened by the announcement (Sunday). It obviously hits close.”
Saunders announced in August that he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in June. Doctors called it “treatable and curable” at the time Saunders’ diagnosis was made public, but the longtime NBA coach took a leave of absence in September when complications arose during his recovery.
Farrell was diagnosed with Stage 1 lymphoma in August, at which point the manager took a leave of absence from the Red Sox to undergo chemotherapy. He learned last Thursday his own cancer was in remission and said he felt “pretty darn good” in his recovery.
Farrell is slated to return to the dugout as Boston’s manager for the 2016 season. He’ll now do so with a heavier heart having lost a friend over the weekend.
Thumbnail photo via Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports Images
Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders
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