- Associated Press - Friday, May 27, 2011

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA (AP) - Former WNBA player Margo Dydek has died after suffering a heart attack a week ago and being placed in a medically induced coma.

Cathy Roberts, the operations manager for the Northside Wizards in the Queensland Basketball League, where Dydek was head coach, told The Associated Press that Dydek, 37, died early Friday.

The Poland-born Dydek, who was pregnant with her third child, suffered the heart attack on May 19 and collapsed at her home in Brisbane. Roberts said that Dydek was at an early stage in her pregnancy and that her unborn child had also died.

Dydek was the No. 1 pick in the 1998 WNBA draft by the Utah Starzz. She also played for San Antonio, Connecticut and Los Angeles.

The 7-foot-2 Dydek was once said to be the tallest active professional female basketball player in the world.

She held the record for most blocks in a WNBA career, with 877 in 323 games, and led the league in blocks nine times, from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2005-07.

On August 27, 2008 Dydek signed with the Los Angeles Sparks following time away from basketball due to the birth of her first son in April 2008.

An entry on Dydek’s Facebook page says she was born on April 28, 1974 in Warsaw, Poland to a 6-7 father and a 6-3 mother. She had two sisters, and her elder sister, Kashka used to play for the Colorado Explosion of the now defunct ABL, and in Poland.

Tina Thompson, a former teammate of Dydek’s on the Sparks, said on the WNBA’s Twitter feed: “My condolences to the family of Margo Dydek, may she rest in peace!”

The Brisbane-based Wizards posted a statement on their website Friday.

“Always in our hearts - Margo,” it said. “With great sadness we acknowledge the passing of … Margo Dydek. Margo suffered a heart attack just over a week ago and passed away Friday 27th May, peacefully and surrounded by her family.

“You were a much-loved member of our community and we will miss you greatly. Our hearts go out to your family, David and your beautiful boys xx.”

She is survived by her husband, David, and two sons, David, 3, and Alex, seven months.

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