R.I.P. Jerry Buss 1934-20130 Comments Jerry Buss, the Los Angeles Lakers’ playboy owner who shepherded the NBA franchise to 10 championships from the ’80s Showtime dynasty to the Kobe Bryant era, died Monday, his assistant said. Buss died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said Bob Steiner, his assistant. He was 79. He’d been hospitalized for cancer, but the immediate cause of death was kidney failure, Steiner said. Under Buss’ leadership since 1979, the Lakers became Southern California’s most beloved sports franchise and a worldwide extension of Hollywood glamour. Buss acquired, nurtured and befriended a staggering array of talented players and basketball minds during his Hall of Fame tenure.