SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A 107-year-old Northern California woman who gained fame very late in life as an avid and gregarious fan of the Golden State Warriors died Thursday.
Helen Brooks was better known as "Sweetie" and became a media darling last year after The Mercury News of San Jose wrote about her decades-long dedication to the team that eventually won the NBA championship in 2015.
Brooks loved to tell the players what to do from the comfort of her living room. She disdained sloppy play.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr even gave a shoutout to Brooks on TV last year, and she was invited to watch the team play from a suite at Oracle Arena.
The coach also paid homage to her Thursday, saying the Warriors had lost its oldest fan.
"She took great joy in our team over the years and especially when we won the championship a couple years ago, she was really happy," Kerr said before a road game against the Brooklyn Nets. "We wanted to send along our condolences to her family."
Daughter Lily Toney said her mother was a positive person who cracked subtle jokes and didn't let the little things in life bother her. Toney gave no cause of death for Brooks other than old age.
"I think she was just tired," she said. "She had a wonderful life, and we're so happy she's in peace now."
Brooks and her husband, Clifford Brooks, watched the games together for years until he died in 1999. After that, she kept watching because it made her feel close to him, her daughter said. They were married for 60 years.
Brooks was living in Hayward until January, when she broke her tibia and moved into a care facility, Toney said. Her mother liked to say that she lived so long because she was supposed to be the Warriors' oldest fan.
Brooks was born in Ennis, Texas, in 1909. She is survived by Toney, 77, and son Frank Knight, 82.
Associated Press writer Brian Mahoney in Brooklyn, New York, contributed to this report.
This story has been corrected to show that Brooks was living in Hayward, California, not Oakland.