Dwayne Schintzius Death: Former Spurs Center Dead at 43 After Leukemia Battle

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Dwayne Schintzius, a former University of Florida stand out and NBA first-round pick, died this weekend after a long battle with leukemia. He was 43.

According to the report, Schintzius was surrounded by family when he died at about 2:45pm Sunday from respiratory failure at the H. Lee Moffit Cancer Center, where he was first admitted in 2009 after being diagnosed with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, an uncommon blood cancer that affects only three in 100,000 individuals in the United States each year.

Although Dwayne was declared cancer-free after receiving an initial bone-marrow transplant from his younger brother in 2010 (and appeared to be free of medical problems), further issues required Schintzius to undergo a second bone marrow transplant and he endured months of complications from the procedure leading up to his death.

Dwayne Schintzius, a 7-foot-2 center, played four seasons at Florida, from 1986 to 1990, helping the team to their first three NCAA tournament appearances in school history. He is sixth on Florida’s all-time scoring list with 1,624 points and still holds the school record for blocked shots (272).

Known best for his crazy mullet and rebellious spirit, Schintzius was named an All-American by The Associated Press, UPI and the Sporting News in 1989 after averaging 18.0 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.

He also remains the only SEC player with more than 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, 250 assists and 250 blocked shots.

“He was maybe as skillful as any big man that’s ever played at Florida,” Bill Koss, a Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida basketball analyst, told ABC News. “Soft hands. Could really pass the basketball. Great instincts.

After his collegiate career, Schintzius was picked by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round (24th overall selection) of the 1990 NBA Draft. He played for six teams in his injury-filled eight-year NBA career, which ended in 1989 with the Boston Celtics.

The Sentinel writes that Schintzius is survived by his younger brother and his parents, Ken and Linda. The family said plans for a memorial service are pending.

“He was my big brother and I looked up to him and idolized him my whole life,” Travis Schintzius said. “He’s at peace now. He’s not suffering any more. Now he’s probably cracking jokes and making people laugh in heaven.”

More on Dwayne Schintzius’ death in the video clip below: