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Don Poier, at 53; was announcer for Memphis Grizzlies

DENVER -- Don Poier, the longtime voice of the Memphis Grizzlies, died unexpectedly Friday, hours before the team was to play the Denver Nuggets. He was 53.

A Grizzlies spokeswoman said the cause of death was not known.

Mr. Poier had been the voice of the Grizzlies since their inception in 1995, when they played in Vancouver.

''It is just a devastating thing for the franchise, because he's one of the original people," coach Mike Fratello said.

Mr. Poier moved with the team to Memphis in 2001. Mr. Poier served as the radio play-by-play announcer the last three seasons and moved to the television side this season.

Before working with the Grizzlies, Mr. Poier spent more than 20 years as an announcer on Pac-10 Conference football and basketball games.

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