Ken “Kato” Kasuya, the B.C. Lions’ equipment manager and a locker-room fixture for more than 40 years, has died, the Canadian Football League team announced Wednesday morning.“We are devastated as an organization today,” Lions president Rick LeLacheur said in a release. “From the day he rode his bike to Empire Stadium as a teenager more than 40 years ago to volunteer as a waterboy, Kato endeared himself to generations of Lions players and staff members. He was a treasured part of our family, loved dearly by anyone who came to know him. Tasked with the incredible responsibility to ensure the health of our players, he did so with passion, joy and tireless effort. He will forever be in the hearts of the legions of players and coaches who passed through our locker-room doors along with the thousand in the football community across Canada.”The cause of death was not released but Kasuya had been battling kidney disease in recent years and suffered a stroke in 2015.
B.C. Lions equipment manager Kato Kasuya (left) adjusts a helmet while fitting rookie Josh Bell at the team’s practice facility in Surrey May 29, 2012.
Ric Ernst /