The AP reports: A spokesman says billionaire shopping mall magnate and Indiana Pacers co-owner Mel Simon has died at age 82. Simon Property Group spokesman Les Morris says Simon died Friday. Simon spent nearly 40 years leading what is now Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group, the nation’s largest shopping mall company.

“Mel Simon was an extraordinary person, a giant of a man who contributed so much to our community and to our state,” said Pacers Sports & Entertainment President Jim Morris. “His kindness, generosity, creativity, warmth and genuine goodness is almost immeasurable. He’s one of the major reasons Indianapolis is a major league city in many different ways. The success of the Simon family has touched the lives and benefitted every single Hoosier.”

“Melvin was a very dear friend and golfing buddy,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “He is a true legend to this city, not only for the visible things that everyone sees each day, but because he was a man who cared about people. He is one of this country’s greatest success stories, a man who is a true example of the American Dream. As an owner of the Pacers, he was a joy to work for and to work with. But he wasn’t only an owner, he was the biggest and best Pacers fan. I will miss him and the Pacers’ family will miss him.”

“My heart is very heavy today, Mel Simon was a great owner but more importantly a loving and giving friend,” said former Pacers player Reggie Miller. “My thoughts and prayers go out to the Simon family.”

NBA Commissioner David Stern issued the following statement today regarding the passing of Indiana Pacers and Fever Owner Melvin Simon:

“The NBA family has lost one of its most successful and respected owners. More importantly, we have lost a great friend. Mel and Herb Simon purchased the Indiana Pacers in 1983, and under their stewardship the organization became a model franchise and one of the league’s most successful teams. Mel’s impact on the community, however, extended well beyond basketball. His social activism throughout the years earned many well-earned accolades. His influence, on and off the court, will be felt for a very long time. We extend our deepest sympathies to Mel’s wife Bren, their four children, and the entire Simon family.”