|Greg Willard passed away April 1, 2013.|
Willard officiated his final NBA contest in October, a pre-season affair between the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers, played in Anaheim, close to Willard's home town of Huntington Beach. He received the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network's Spirit of Hope Award later that month.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States with a poor prognosis. Exocrine pancreatic cancer is associated with a one-year survival rate of just 25%, decreasing to 6% after five years. The median survival is about 10 months.
In honor of PCAN and Willard, NBA regional rights-holders such as FOX Sports have raised awareness and funds throughout the season for cancer research; NBA officials have worn purple awareness bracelets throughout the 2012-13 NBA season.
A Southern California native and a married father of three, Willard was 54 years old.