Weber's mother dies after tournament win

Saturday, March 12, 2005

CHICAGO -- Illinois coach Bruce Weber's mother died Friday after surgery to repair a torn aorta, leaving his status for Saturday's Big Ten tournament semifinal game uncertain, a team spokesman said.

Dawn Weber, 81, underwent surgery at Rush University Medical Center after complaining of chest pains before the Illini beat Northwestern earlier Friday.

Weber, who was a widow and lived in Milwaukee, died about 6 p.m., said John Pontarelli, a hospital spokesman. Her husband, Bruce Weber's father, died about 18 years ago.

The aorta is the main artery that carries blood from the heart. The tear was described as a splitting of the inner layers of the aorta, allowing blood to flow between them.

Weber's coaching status for Saturday's game against Minnesota may not be decided until before the game, Illinois sports information director Kent Brown said.

Weber was at the hospital when his mother died.

"We're still waiting to hear back from coach," Brown said Friday night. "The team will be meeting later tonight to go over the scouting report in preparation for tomorrow. Whether he's a part of that or not, I don't know."

Medical staff at the arena attended to Dawn Weber before she was taken to the hospital, Brown said.

"She was here at the (United Center) with a cousin to pick up her tickets before the game when she felt chest pains," he said.

Bruce Weber's wife, Megan, told her husband of his mother's illness after the Illini defeated Northwestern 68-51 in the tournament quarterfinals.

"Megan asked us not to tell him before the game," Brown said. At the time, he said that if Dawn Weber's condition had been dire the coach would have been informed immediately.

Weber left the arena for the hospital shortly after the game.

Bruce Weber's brother, Dave, is basketball coach at Glenbrook North High School in Chicago's northern suburbs. He coached his team at its sectional final game Friday night.

"I can't even imagine what Bruce is going through," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, a longtime friend of Weber's, said after his team lost to Iowa on Friday night. "This brings perspective that my low isn't as low as I think. My thoughts and prayers just go out to Bruce and his family."

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