Globetrotters' Richardson dies in sleep

PHOENIX -- Chris "Flash" Richardson, a member of the Harlem Globetrotters, died in his sleep Wednesday while on tour in Japan, an official with the team said Thursday. He was 28.

Although the cause of death was not yet confirmed, Richardson likely died of natural causes, said Globetrotters spokesman Brett Meister.

The players were at a U.S. military base in Sasebo, Japan, as part of an annual holiday tour. The Globetrotters are in their 83rd consecutive season of touring the world.

Meister said the organization was still in shock over Richardson's death.

A native of Corpus Christi, Texas, the 6-foot-7 Richardson played at UNLV and joined the Globetrotters shortly after his college career ended.

Richardson was known for his dunking skills and a genial disposition, according to Meister.

"He was a great Globetrotter on and off the court. He just had a very engaging smile that would light up the room," Meister said.

Richardson was also active with organizations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs as well as adoption agencies.

Funeral plans were incomplete but team officials said the memorial service would take place in Corpus Christi.

Richardson's survivors include his mother.