Former North Carolina and NBA big man Eric Montross, who began treatment for cancer in March, died on Sunday at the age of 52, his family announced Monday.

“His family is grateful for the tremendous support and the truly overwhelming love expressed by so many people as he battled with his signature determination and grace,” his family said in a statement issued through the University of North Carolina.

“… To know Eric was to be his friend, and the family knows that the ripples from the generous, thoughtful way that he lived his life will continue in the lives of the many people he touched with his deep and sincere kindness.”

Montross played for Hall of Fame coach Dean Smith at UNC from 1990 to 1994, and he was the starting center when the Tar Heels won the 1993 national championship. He was first-team all-ACC selection that season, and he was a two-time Associated Press second-team All-American.