NEW YORK (AP) -- The NBA said former Commissioner David Stern suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage Thursday and had emergency surgery.
The league said in a statement its thoughts and prayers are with the 77-year-old Stern's family.
Stern served exactly 30 years as the NBA's longest-tenured commissioner before Adam Silver replaced him on Feb. 1, 2014. Stern has remained affiliated with the league with the title of commissioner emeritus and has remained active in his other interests, such as sports technology.
Stern oversaw the growth of the NBA into a league whose games were televised in more than 200 countries and territories and in more than 40 languages. The league was playing a regular-season game in Mexico City between Dallas and Detroit on Thursday night when it announced the news about Stern.
Stern stayed busy after stepping down as commissioner, taking trips overseas on the league's behalf, doing public speaking and consulting. He was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.
Stern oversaw the addition of seven franchises and the creation of the WNBA and NBA Development League, now called the G League. He had a hand in numerous initiatives that changed the league, including drug testing, the salary cap and implementation of a dress code.
He wouldn't even let staffers use the word ''retire'' when he left his office, because he never intended to stop working. He has kept an office in New York and regularly travels into the city for work on the projects he pursued once he turned the league over to Silver.