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Luke Hancock’s father passes away

Jun 24, 2013, 8:45 PM EST

Louisville Cardinals NCAA Basketball Celebration Getty Images

Sad news out of Virginia this evening, as Luke Hancock’s father has passed away at the age of 70.

Hancock’s father, Bill, had been sick for some time and the relationship between the two was well-documented in stories during the Final Four. Luke, a 6-6 fifth year senior-to-be, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four in helping Louisville to their first national championship since 1986.

“We caught him in Dallas and he went on to Colorado as we had talked about and as his father wanted him to do,” she said to The Associated Press, calling her son’s opportunity to compete for a spot on the national team a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

After a slow start to the season, the Roanoke, Va. native came on for coach Rick Pitino’s team late, scoring in double-figures in six of the Cardinals’ final eight regular season and conference tournament games. He then went for 10 points in Louisville’s Elite Eight win over Duke, and combined for 42 points (20 against Wichita State, 22 against Michigan) in the Final Four.

It was originally unclear what Bill Hancock suffered from (the family wanted to keep that private, understandably) but reports are saying he succumbed to cancer.

There wasn’t much doubt about the dedication he had to his son, as evident by the fact that, despite being gravely ill, he made it with the family to Atlanta for the Final Four.

Hancock is expected to be one of the leaders for the Cardinals in 2013-14 after averaging 8.1 points and 2.6 rebounds while shooting 39.9 percent from three-point range. He flew out Monday to participate in tryouts for Team USA in the World University Games, beginning in Russia on July 7.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten