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Former Kentucky player Jerry Bird dies

In this Dec. 23, 1954, photo, Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp, third from right, is congratulated by LaSalle coach Ken Loeffler as Kentucky players look on after the championship game of the Kentucky Wildcats Invitational college basketball tournament, in Lexington, Ky. Players fropm left are Linville Puckett, Bill Evans, Bob Burrow, Jerry Bird and Phil Grawemeyer. Former Kentucky basketball player Jerry Bird, second from right, who was a member of the school's Athletics Hall of Fame and had his No. 22 jersey retired to the Rupp Arena rafters, has died. An obituary posted by O'Neil-Lawson Funeral Home says Bird died Sunday, July 16, 2017, at a hospital in Corbin. (Lexington Herald-Leader via AP)/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP)

CORBIN, Ky. (AP) Former Kentucky basketball player Jerry Bird, who was a member of the school's Athletics Hall of Fame and had his No. 22 jersey retired to the Rupp Arena rafters, has died.

An obituary posted by O'Neil-Lawson Funeral Home says Bird died Sunday at a hospital in Corbin. He was 83.

Media report Bird played for Kentucky from 1954 to 1956 and helped the school attain two Southeastern Conference titles in 1954 and 1955. He was part of the 1954 team crowned national champions by the Helms Athletic Foundation after a 25-0 season.

Bird scored 713 career points and had 589 career rebounds under coach Adolph Rupp.

"Jerry Bird was Kentucky through and through," UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said in a statement by the school. "He was proud to be a Wildcat and is an important part of Kentucky basketball history.

Bird played one season with the New York Knicks before returning to his hometown of Corbin to work at American Greetings.

His is survived by a son, two grandchildren, a brother and a sister. Visitation and services are scheduled for Saturday at Central Baptist Church in Corbin.

Updated July 17, 2017

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