Saturday, January 24, 2009
Utah Jazz Owner Larry Miller Has Both Legs Amputated Just Below The Knee Due To Type 2 Diabetes; Outpouring Of Local Sympathy
Because of complications attendant to Type 2 Diabetes, longtime Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller underwent surgery on Friday January 23rd, 2009 to have both of his legs amputated 6 inches below the knee. The surgery was successful and no post-op complications have been reported. Numerous Utah media stories as follows:
-- "Larry H. Miller recovering from surgery", KTVX Channel 4, January 23rd
-- "Jazz owner Miller has lower legs amputated", KSL Channel 5, January 23rd
-- "Larry Miller loses his legs to diabetes", Deseret News, January 24th
-- "Jazz owner Larry H. Miller undergoes a double-amputation", Salt Lake Tribune, January 24th
Miller's son, Greg Miller, said that his father is doing well and that recovery is expected. But he offered no other details. Larry Miller was already using a wheelchair prior to the surgery.
Larry Miller's medical problems actually began in earnest during the summer of 2008, when he suffered a heart attack. Subsequent complications included kidney failure and gastrointestinal bleeding which required blood transfusions, lengthening his hospital stay to nearly two months. He then required an additional nine-day hospitalization for dialysis to remove excess water weight. But the foot problems began in October when doctors found a bone infection and diabetic ulcers on one of Miller's feet. He had outpatient surgery and underwent six weeks of IV and hyperbaric chamber therapy. Unfortunately, this was insufficient to stave off the inevitable. The American Diabetes Association offers insight about foot complications HERE.
However, Larry Miller's medical problems did not stop Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. from putting him to work. On Thursday January 22nd, Gov. chose Miller to chair a new commission that will look for ways to increase Utah's low voter turnout and improve ethics in government.
Miller was the CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group, which got its start in 1985 after Miller bought a 50 percent share of the Utah Jazz, then acquiring sole ownership a year later. It is said that Miller's purchase of the team may have averted a franchise move out of Salt Lake City. And it was a good thing - because the Jazz had just added their two greatest players ever, John Stockton and Karl Malone, and were about to reach their greatest heights. This culminated in back-to-back appearances in the NBA finals in 1997 and 1998, but unfortunately against the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls. Their 1997 loss to the Bulls was legit, but in 1998, the Jazz had to play against both the Bulls and the "Zebras" (the refs), resulting in a second loss (I watched the final game of the series, and it was the most blatant case of biased officiating I've ever seen).
The Larry Miller Group also owns various radio and TV stations, restaurants, car dealerships, movie theaters, advertising and finance firms, sports arenas, a race track, a movie production company, ranches, a real estate development company and a minor league baseball team. But due to his declining health, he stepped aside this past summer in favor of his son, Greg Miller.
Comments posted to the various news stories show that Larry Miller is very highly-regarded throughout the local community. Condolences and expressions of sympathy are literally pouring out. Even those who usually express skepticism about the Mormon role in Utah are relatively restrained. Larry Miller is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Diabetic amputation is NOT inevitable. To determine your risk of diabetes, REGARDLESS of your age, I suggest you take this simple one-minute risk assessment by the American Diabetes Association HERE. Anyone can get it, although there are preferential risk factors. While prostheses are rapidly improving in functionality, there is still NO replacement for the original issue.