The brother of New York Knicks star Amare Stoudemire died in a car accident early Monday morning in Florida, a team spokesman confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com.
The Florida Highway Patrol issued a report that said Hazell Stoudemire was driving a Cadillac Escalade north on U.S. 27 in Lake Wales, Fla., at a high rate of speed and collided with the rear of a tractor trailer at 1:42 a.m. ET. The report said that the 35-year-old was not wearing a seatbelt and was declared dead at the scene. Police are awaiting test results to see if alcohol was involved in the accident.
The team said that Stoudemire is traveling to Florida to be with his family and will not be with the team for Monday night's game against the Jazz in New York. The team did not know when he will return. Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said Stoudemire can take "whatever time he needs to take" before returning to the team. After Monday night's game at Utah, the Knicks travel to Washington to play the Wizards on Wednesday and return home to host the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.
"I know he's very close to his brother so my heart's out for him," D'Antoni said after the team's shootaround on Monday, adding, "He cherishes his family, he does a great job of maintaining all the relationships. Like I said, this is just a trying moment for him."
D'Antoni has communicated with Stoudemire through text messages but has yet to speak with the star power forward. Reserve Jared Jeffries will start in place of Stoudemire on Monday against Utah.
"My thoughts and prayers and everything's with him," said D'Antoni, who also coached Stoudemire in Phoenix for the first six years of his career. "Whatever time he needs to take, he'll take and we'll get him back as soon as possible."
Amare Stoudemire is a former Mr. Basketball in Florida and went straight to the NBA out of high school. He grew up in the Lake Wales area, which is in central Florida.
Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley and Jared Zwerling was used in this report.