BEIJING, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Former Chinese basketball star Mu Tiezhu died of heart attack in Beijing on Sunday noon, No. 309 PLA Hospital announced on Sunday afternoon. Mu was 59.
Mu, who stood 2.28 meters, two centimeters taller than Chinese NBA star Yao Ming, was a household name in China in the 1970s and 1980s.
The towering center joined the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in 1972 and made it to the Bayi (Chinese Army) team in 1973. Four years later, Mu was called to the national team.
Mu led the Chinese team to its first Asian championship title in 1977, the Asian Games gold medal in 1978 and a 11th-place finish in the world championship the same year.
Mu, who averaged over 20 points, had once scored 80 points in a domestic game.
The basketball giant ended his playing career in 1987 to coach the Bayi team and moonlight in movie business. He starred in a few comedy movies, such as "The Silly Manager", "Dark Corridor" and "Overnight Singing Star".
Mu, who had the PLA rank as a senior colonel of the civil service, retired in 2000.
His last public appearance was at the Chinese women's team's Olympic game against the Czech Republic on Aug. 17.
Mu is survived by his wife Wang Zhuanhong and two adult children.
Mu was one of the first Chinese giants appeared in Chinese national basketball team. He had played for the national basketball team for 14 years. As a member of Bayi Basketball Team, Mu still held the highest score of 80 points in a game, and beat the 1978 NBA champion Washington Bullets twice in April, 1979. Mu retired as a player in 1987, and as a coach in 2000.
"Mu was the only super center in Asia during his player career and he developed a classic Chinese playing style which is still used by Yao Ming," said Xu Jicheng, the BOCOG's deputy media director and the executive deputy director of the Main Press Center for the ongoing Paralympic Games.
Xu, a former hoopster who is also the best known basketball commentator in China, said Mu "read the game better" than Yao Ming, but the younger generation of Chinese centers including Yao, Wang Zhizhi and Menk Bateer are "more athletic and physically stronger".
he had to be,he sat the standard for chinese big men so i believe not only ming but chinese athletes in general are im true morning spirits right now.when maynard ferguson died, i took it hard even though i never met him. it hurt me because as a trumpet player he was my biggest inspiration and made it possible for me to play the way i do. same goes in basketball in ming's case