UPDATE: 11:48 p.m. EDT -- James later on Wednesday night came out of his social media hiatus to address the issue stating LaForce did not blindside him with the news.

Original story:

LeBron James was left in an uncomfortable position as he was forced to react to news of the death of San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich's wife Erin on live television just moments after the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

The Cavaliers leveled their first round NBA playoff series to 1-1 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, after defeating the visitors 100-97. However, the biggest news of the day was the passing of Erin Popovich, 67, as she was reportedly battling an illness.

Popovich, a five-time NBA title winning coach, is one of the most respected figures in the NBA and shared a close relationship with James among many other players. The basketball world was left devastated by the news of his wife's death. In the post-match interview, TNT reporter Allie LaForce broke the news of his wife's death to an unaware James who took a couple of moments before responding dejectedly.

"Obviously, I’m a huge Pop fan. I love Pop," James said, as quoted on USA Today. "That’s such a tragedy. My best wishes goes out to Pop and his family. That’s devastating news. It’s a lot. The NBA family, we all stick together."

"I know we compete every night, but when something like this happens it puts everything in perspective. I send my well wishes and my prayers up to the heavens above. I know the man above never makes a mistake even when you sometimes have to ask why. That’s just terrible news. Best of luck to Pop everybody in San Antonio, the whole Spurs family. That’s all I can say."

LaForce's question triggered a social media backlash as many fans and fellow reporters attacked her for a lack of respect and empathy in asking him to respond to such news so promptly. James, though, was commended for how he handled the situation.

A number of other figures also expressed their condolences to Popovich after learning of the news.

"We mourn the loss of Erin," Spurs General Manager RC Buford said in a statement. "She was a strong, wonderful, kind, intelligent woman who provided love, support and humor to all of us."

"I want Pop to know that the whole NBA family is supporting him and got his back through it all," Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant said. "It’s bigger than the game. It’s bigger than winning and losing. It’s about the brotherhood we’ve built with the NBA family. I feel so bad for Pop and his family. That is tough to hear."

"Prayers go out to his family. Man, that’s tough. This game is a beautiful game and it brings people together. You build friendships from playing the game. You have so much support from so many people that you would never cross paths with if it weren’t for basketball," Durant added.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and assistant coach Mike Brown, both of whom have worked with Popovich before, respectfully declined to comment as they mourned the news.

It is not known yet whether Popovich will take part in coaching duties as the Spurs host the Warriors in Game 3 of their first round series Thursday. If he is to take a leave of absence, assistant coach Ettore Messina will likely serve on an interim basis.