Utah Jazz owner Miller hospitalized

Published: Monday, June 16 2008 3:54 p.m. MDT

Jazz owner and Utah business magnate Larry H. Miller is hospitalized with complications from type 2 diabetes.

A statement released by the Jazz late Monday morning said that "according to his doctors and family, Miller is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery."

Through a spokeswoman, however, neither the team nor Miller would either confirm or deny that the complications involved a heart attack and/or heart issues.

Miller's son, Greg, also would not comment when asked a specific question regarding a heart attack.

But Greg Miller did say his father is "going to need some time to regain his strength and recuperate" and that "unfortunately he's neglected himself for too long, and now he's paying the price for it."

"He was conversant, he was coherent," Miller said of his visit with his father at the hospital on Monday in which Larry H. Miller signed what Greg Miller described as some "pretty important" business documents.

"He was very tired," Greg Miller said during a conference call with three reporters. "But aside from that, the thing I was most encouraged by when I was talking to the primary care physician is ... (the doctor) said the good news here is we're talking about recovery and not a funeral."

According to the American Diabetes Association's Web site, typical type 2 diabetes complications can include, but are not limited to, heart disease, blindness, nerve damage and kidney damage.

Type 2 diabetes — the disease's most-common form — involves either the body not producing enough insulin, which is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy, or cells ignoring the insulin.

Miller has had diabetes for "several years," though he kept it secret from even close family members for some time, Greg Miller said.

No timetable for the 64-year-old Miller's release from the unidentified hospital has been set, according to the Jazz and Greg Miller.

"He sounds great," said Jazz communications vice president Linda Luchetti, who spoke to Miller on Monday morning.

"He said, 'I don't want people to think this is bigger than it is, because I'm fine,'" added Luchetti, who painted a much-rosier picture than Greg Miller did. "He's doing terrific."

Miller took ill last Tuesday.

Unconfirmed rumor of his health issues spread, but many close to Miller — including Jazz point guard Deron Williams and other Jazz players — did not learn of his situation until Monday.

"I hope everything is well with him," Williams said while playing golf Monday in a pro-am event at Thanksgiving Point. "He means so much to our team and Salt Lake City in general. I hope he's OK. Both my parents battled diabetes, so I know how serious that can be."

Miller also owns baseball's minor-league Salt Lake Bees, the Triple-A affiliate for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Miller Motorsports Park, a road-course-style auto and motorcycle race track located in Tooele County; EnergySolutions Arena, home of the Jazz; KJZZ-TV; numerous automobile dealerships, which represent his primary business venture; and the Jordan Commons entertainment complex in Sandy, one among many holdings in the Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment Group of Companies.

His net worth has been estimated by various sources in the past two years to be in the $480-to-$490 million range, and his various enterprises — which started with a car dealership in 1979 — employ more than 6,500 people.

Miller bought half of the Jazz in 1985, and the remainder of the franchise — which has twice made it to the NBA Finals — in 1986.

He and wife Gail are the parents of five children, including four sons.

The Jazz's statement concluded by saying, "The Miller family appreciates the warm wishes and prayers sent their way during this time."


Contributing: Dick Harmon

E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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