Fab Melo’s cause of death has not been confirmed at this time. However, rumors suggest the Brazilian professional basketball player suffered a massive heart attack and died in his sleep. According to reports, authorities were called to Melo’s Juiz de Fora home on Saturday evening. Upon arrival, paramedics found the former NBA player unresponsive and subsequently declared him dead.
Although Fab Melo’s official cause of death is unknown, first responders confirmed there were no visible signs of trauma or foul play.
As reported by Syracuse.com, Fab Melo played soccer throughout his youth, but he switched to basketball after learning the sport at the age of 15.
Melo admittedly struggled to master the fundamental skills required to play basketball, including catching and throwing the ball.
“In soccer, you kick balls… In basketball, you catch them. At first, it was very hard to grab the ball when somebody threw it to me. And when I would get the ball, I would always travel. And when I shot, it looked like I was throwing a pass.”
However, he consistently strived to improve his skills and learn everything he could about playing the “American” ball game.
In an effort to improve his chances of becoming a professional basketball player, Fab Melo moved to the United States in 2008. Following his graduation from Weston, Florida’s Sagemont preparatory school, Melo attended Syracuse University, where he played on the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team.
Although he averaged 7.8 points during the 2011 through 2012 campaign and was ultimately named the Big East Conference Defensive Player of the year, Fab struggled to keep up with his academic work. As a result, he was suspended from the team on more than one occasion.
Fab Melo dropped out of college after his sophomore year. However, he signed a contract with the Boston Celtics in July 2012. As reported by CBS Sports, the talented young man played in a total of six Celtic games during the 2012 through 2013 campaign. Although his stats were impressive, Melo spent a majority of his time with the NBA Development team playing for the Maine Red Claws.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 12, 2017
Between 2013 and 2014, Fab Melo played for the Memphis Grizzlies and the Texas Legends before returning to his homeland to join the Novo Basquete Brasil league.
Unfortunately, the young man’s life and career were “complicated.” CBS Sports writer Damon Amendolara described Melo as “a defensive stopper who helped lead Syracuse to the top of the polls but may have never gone to class. He had anger issues which flared up into domestic violence incidents. He had massive hopes draped on him, but was a punchline for clumsiness.”
On Saturday, February 11, the 26-year-old basketball player was found dead by his mother. Although Fab Melo’s cause of death is unknown, his father died of a heart attack at a young age, leading to speculation that Fab also suffered from heart disease.
Former NBA player, Fab Melo, found dead in Brazil. No cause of death yet. pic.twitter.com/ESC0klPDwx
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) February 12, 2017
Upon hearing news of Melo’s death, Syracuse University coach Jim Boeheim said he was “very sorry” to hear about the young man’s passing. As reported by Syracuse New Times, he described the basketball player as a “kind, genuine person who was committed to doing his best.”
In a Twitter message, Boston Celtics general manager and president Danny Ainge described Melo as “a good kid with a big heart.”
At this time, authorities have not confirmed Fab Melo’s cause of death and his family has not discussed funeral plans. However, his fans, friends, and former colleagues are expressing their condolences via social media.
[Featured Image by LM Otero/AP Images]