The family of Scott Sterling called their son's death a terrible tragedy in a statement released Wednesday.
Sterling, who is the son of L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling, was found dead Tuesday night on a couch at a unit in the Malibu Beach Villas apartment complex at 22660 Pacific Coast Highway, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Sterling's death resulted from a possible drug overdose, but the cause will be confirmed through an autopsy, which is pending, the L.A. County Coroner's Office reported.
Donald and Shelly Sterling said their son had "fought a long and valiant battle against Type 1 Diabetes.''
"His death is a terrible tragedy, the effects of which will be felt forever by our family and all those who knew and loved him,'' they said. "We sincerely appreciate the warm outpouring of sympathy and support from so many of our dear friends. At this time, we respectfully ask to be afforded the opportunity to mourn this loss in an appropriately private manner.''
Clippers President Andy Roeser said "today the thoughts and prayers of our organization go out to Donald T. and Shelly Sterling and their children Chris and Joanna, in the wake of this tragic loss. Scott was a friend to many in the Clippers' family and he will be greatly missed.''
The neighborhood outside the apartment, which was advertised as "ultra luxurious," was quiet Wednesday as some residents came and went.
"He was a kind and caring gentleman," a resident of the complex who wished to be unnamed told Malibu Patch.
Others asked about the half a dozen news vans lined up alongside Pacific Coast Highway, calling the news "sad."
Sterling's body was discovered by deputies who responded to calls from friends that Sterling had not been seen in days, the sheriff's department said.
Sterling made headlines in 1999 when he shot childhood friend Philip Scheid at the Beverly Hills home of Donald Sterling. According to police reports, Scheid was shot from behind with a 20-gauge shotgun, though Sterling claimed he fired in self defense when Scheid attacked him with a knife. Charges were never filed against Sterling, then 19.