Fab Melo, a former Syracuse University basketball star, has died, according to multiple news sources. He was 26.|
Melo was found dead at his home in Juiz de Fora, in the state of Minas Gerais, military police in Brazil confirmed. Melo went to bed Friday night and was found dead Saturday morning by his mother, authorities there said. Melo had been playing professional basketball in Brazil.
There was no immediate word on the cause of death.
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Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim told ESPN, "We don't know the cause yet. It's so hard right now, so hard to believe. It's a sad, sad day. He was a really good kid, and it's not fair that he will be defined by one thing: a 10-page paper.
"He worked his tail off to become a really good player and was a nice kid.”
The NCAA had investigated the Syracuse University academic program and questioned the legitimacy of a paper that Melo had written in high school. Boeheim was suspended for nine games in 2015.
Melo played two seasons for Syracuse, averaging 7.8 points and 5.8 rebounds during the 2011-2012 season.
The Boston Celtics drafted Melo in the first round of the 2012 NBA draft. He was not a success at Boston, however, and played in just a handful of games. He was traded to Memphis in 2013 and was waived by the Grizzlies soon after the trade.
Danny Ainge, the president of basketball operations for the Celtics, paid tribute to Melo on Twitter.
“I'm so saddened to hear of the passing of Fab Melo," Ainge tweeted. "He was a good kid with a big heart. Our prayers go out to all of his loved ones.”