For the second time in a week, the University of Iowa sports community is mourning the passing of a former star player.

Funeral arrangements are pending for Roy Marble, the high-flying guard who led the Hawkeyes to national prominence on the basketball court in the 1980s. Marble, who had battled cancer in recent years, died at his home in Michigan Friday morning (Sept. 11, 2015). He was 48.

Marble became a legend while playing for the Hawkeyes from 1986-89, the only player in program history to score more than 2,000 points. His 2,116 points in 134 games are best among men and women. Marble also recorded 668 career rebounds and 281 assists as Iowa posted an 89-37 record during his career.

With Marble on the court, the Hawkeyes earned four-straight NCAA Tournament appearances. In 1987, he led Iowa to its last No. 1 ranking, and that squad is still the last in program history to reach the Elite Eight. The Hawkeyes also earned a trip to the Sweet 16 in 1988.

“We are deeply saddened and mourn the loss of Roy Marble,” said Iowa coach Fran McCaffery. “Roy has been a part of the Iowa basketball family for a long time, as one of the all-time best to play for the Hawkeyes, and since then as a tremendous supporter of our program. When I was fortunate to become Iowa’s head coach, one of the first people to reach out to me was Roy and we developed a close relationship ever since."

Roy Marble
Roy Marble
Courtesy: University of Iowa Athletics

Marble shared team Most Valuable Player honors from 1987-89. He was one of 20 players named to Iowa's All-Century team in 2002 and was one of five players named to the 1980's All-Decade team.

“Roy had a huge impact on Iowa basketball and was one of the elite players to ever wear a Hawkeye uniform," McCaffery said. "Roy will be missed by all of us in the Iowa basketball family. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Marble family during this difficult time.”

Along with being Iowa's career scoring leader, Marble is also the career leader in field goals (787) and field goal attempts (1,459), second in free throws (516) and third in free throw attempts (707), and fourth in career steals (183).

"Roy Marble was terrific taking the ball to the basket and then he became a better outside shooter as his college career developed," said former Iowa Coach Dr. Tom Davis. "He was very athletic and that fit with our pressure defense and fast break. The more you could get him out into the open court going to the basket, the better."

Marble led the Hawkeyes in scoring in 1986, 1987, and 1989.

"He was a great teammate. He was for the team first," Davis said. "It wasn’t about Roy. It was about the team, and what was best for the team. He was unselfish as a player and he was coachable for that reason."

Marble was drafted 23rd overall by the Atlanta Hawks in 1989 but played just 29 games in the NBA. His son, Roy Devyn Marble, earned first-team All-Big Ten honors with Iowa in 2014 and played for the Orlando Magic last season. Together, Roy and Devyn are the first father-son combination to each score 1,000 career points in Big Ten Conference history.

Marble's death doesn't come as a complete surprise. He had been diagnosed with stage-4 cancer in 2014. Six months ago, Iowa's all-time scoring leader attended a special jersey ceremony in his honor at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“This is a very sad day for everyone who is a fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes and, particularly, a fan of Hawkeye basketball," said Gary Barta, Iowa's Director of Athletics. "We will all miss Roy immensely. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Marble is the second high-profile Iowa athlete to die this week. Former football star Tyler Sash, 27, was found dead in his home in Oskaloosa on Tuesday.

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