Stan Van Gundy finally reveals cause of wife’s death a year after her passing

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An entire year had to pass for former NBA head coach Stan Van Gundy to finally open up about his wife’s death, as he’s dealt with a difficult grieving process ever since. The basketball legend was invited to the South Beach Sessions podcast this week and revealed that the cause of her passing was suicide. 

Kim, who died back in August 2023 at the age 0f 61, had been together with him for 35 years. “She took her own life,” Stand told media personality Dan Le Batard. “I don’t care how long it goes. I can’t imagine that I’ll ever get over that. It was devastating.”

Van Gundy, who last coached the Pelicans back in 2021, dedicated more detail during the interview, explaining how impactful she was for him, as he considers she was there for him for most of his adult life.

“I never, ever envisioned that I was going to live another day in my life without Kim, never envisioned that. I knew she was going through a tough time, but I still never envisioned that happening. Even now, it’s been eight months, and I struggle to come to grips with the fact that I’m never going to see her again and … I’m trying hard to stay connected,” Van Gundy expressed.

The 61-year-old explained how he still struggles with his personal feelings about her passing away despite going to therapy on a regular basis, as it is hard for him to comprehend that she struggled with mental illness. “I was blessed with an unbelievable woman and a great family, and my responsibility in life, my primary responsibility, was and is to this day was to take care of those five people in every way possible,” he said.

“My wife reached a point of despair and hopelessness and whatever else where her life and her life with me was not worth living anymore,” Stan added. “And my responsibility was to take care of her and to give her a great life, and I failed in that.”

The former NBA coach met Kim 40 years ago at Castletown State College in Vermont, back when she was still a student and he served as the university’s head basketball coach. “Her values were better than mine. She taught me a lot. And I want to live her values and a life that she would be proud of,” Van Gundy recalled.

Van Gundy and Dan Le Batard openly discuss suicide and how grief transcends in the sport world

During the interview, both Dan Le Batard and the interviewer opened up about their own lives and spoke profoundly about the pains of dealing with mental illness and suicide.

According to Stan, there is always guilt that lingers, even though the passing away of another person who took their life isn’t directly related to your actions. “When I wake up in the morning and when I go to bed at night, my feeling is that. That’s a different thing. I’m not attaching an intellectual culpability to it,” he started out.

Van Gundy further explained: “It’s an emotional thing that no matter how much I know, it just doesn’t feel that way. It feels like I let her down, and in the process, I let my kids down and even let myself down. It’s the feeling. I’m not saying that’s the way it is. I’m not saying even that I believe (that) because belief is an intellectual thing. I’m not saying that I believe that’s the way it is. I’m saying it feels like the way it is.”

The podcast host then recalled his own suffering with his brother’s death. “I didn’t quite realize that there was no other relationship that I had like the one with my brother. I hadn’t given any consideration to the idea that it would ever be gone.” Le Batard expressed.