Ingrid Williams, wife of coach Monty Williams, dies at 44

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Ingrid Williams, the wife of Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams, is dead at age 44, the team announced Wednesday.

Ingrid Williams was involved in a car crash Tuesday night in Oklahoma City when she was hit head-on by a car that crossed over the center lane. She was taken to a hospital and died Wednesday evening from injuries suffered in the crash. The driver of the other car was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Oklahoman reported that Ingrid Williams was traveling with three of her children at the time of the crash. Oklahoma City Police Department Captain Paco Balderrama told the newspaper that one of the children has been released from the hospital and "the other two are banged up but expected to be OK."

Monty and Ingrid Williams have five children ranging in age from 5 to 17 years old.

"The Thunder organization has heavy hearts tonight with the news of Ingrid's passing," the team said in a statement. "Words cannot adequately describe how deep our sorrow is for the loss of Monty's wife. Our thoughts and prayers are with Monty and his family, and we will support him in every way possible. We know the entire community of Oklahoma City has them in their prayers."

Thunder star Kevin Durant became emotional when asked to comment Thursday.

"I tried to think about what I'm going to say, but I just love Coach Monty so much, man. I feel for him. Somebody we all love ... I just don't know what to say. I'm sorry, excuse me," he said.

Thunder coach Billy Donovan, discussing how the news has affected the team's tight-knit coaching staff, said "the harsh reality is we have a game to play" Thursday night against the New Orleans Pelicans.

"We've got to go out there and do the best job we can. And that's really all there is. It doesn't mean that we're not hurting as an organization, as a team, as a coaching staff, but we're called to have to play tonight, so we have to go out and play tonight," he said.

Before joining the Thunder coaching staff, Monty Williams served as the Pelicans' head coach from 2010 to 2015.

"The New Orleans Pelicans are devastated to hear the news of Ingrid Williams' passing," the Pelicans said in a statement. "Ingrid was beloved by the Pelicans organization and the New Orleans community and will forever be remembered as one of the most generous, kind and humble individuals we've ever known. Our thoughts and prayers are with Monty Williams and his family during this difficult time."

Pelicans star Anthony Davis took to Twitter to send his condolences.

Davis' teammateEric Gordon also sent his best to the Williams family.

The Thunder's Anthony Morrow, who also played for Williams with the Pelicans, said he's keeping Williams' family in his prayers.

"In my opinion, God called one of his true angels back home," Morrow said. "She was the person you could always go to with anything. Coach Williams as well. Those two are the standard when it comes to marriage, when it comes to being believers. Just inspirations. I feel like I lost a family member for sure, and I'm sure everyone else feels the same way."

Alvin Gentry, who replaced Monty Williams as Pelicans coach, said the team said a prayer for Williams' family in the locker room before Wednesday night's game, and the arena's public address announcer asked for a moment of silence before tipoff.

"The players that were here with Monty and their family definitely felt it," New Orleans point guardJrue Holidaysaid after a 100-96 win over Utah. "Obviously we're all blessed to play the game of basketball, but family comes before that. And I know most of the guys were thinking about our families, thinking about his family."

Monty Williams played three seasons with the San Antonio Spursand served there as a coaching intern. The news of Ingrid Williams' death almost led Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to not coach his team's game Wednesday.

An emotional Popovich walked out of the locker room several minutes after San Antonio's 98-96 win over the Orlando Magic with a tissue in one hand, tears in his eyes and remnants of tears wiped away as he addressed the media.

"I'd rather talk about basketball," Popovich said. "The personal stuff's none of your business."

Popovich changed clothes and later re-entered the locker room. He walked over to Tim Duncan, who had been coached by Williams, and the two shared a private moment.

Kawhi Leonard's last-second jumper gave the Spurs their sixth consecutive victory, and their 20th win in their last 22 games, but the locker room afterward was a somber place.

"Coach [Williams] was a Spur," guard Danny Green said. "He's still a part of our family, and my prayers go out to him and his family."

Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers also had a close relationship with the Williams family.

"Monty Williams and his wife, Ingrid, I've known them since I was married," Rivers said after the Clippers' 139-134 loss to the Celtics. "So I don't know if -- there's no words. There really isn't. I am heartbroken. I'm sick to death. Once again, it puts this stuff we do in perspective. This is awful. Obviously our love and support and all that, but sometimes that doesn't seem fair. There's no better human being in the world than Monty and Ingrid, and for this to happen, sometimes you question everything, and this is one of those times, for me at least."

Denver Nuggets coach Mike Malone said he is a friend of Monty Williams and that the news of Ingrid's death affected him during his team's 103-92 win over Detroit.

"I apologized to the team. The first half, I coached very angry," Malone said. "I don't know if you guys heard, Monty Williams, a good friend of mine, his wife was killed in an accident."

After a long pause, he said, "So I apologized to them because it's taking my anger out on them, and they don't deserve that."

ESPN's Royce Young, Michael C. Wright and Chris Forsberg and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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