The basketball community suffered a loss on Saturday, as former Celtics center Fab Melo died. He was 26 years old.
The news of Melo’s death came via Brazilian reporter Everaldo Marques, with an additional statement issued by his alma mater, Syracuse. A former five-star recruit who went to high school in Florida, Melo played for the Orange from 2010-12, and was named the Big East Player of the Year as a sophomore.
Orange coach Jim Boeheim spoke with ESPN after the news broke. After saying that he “worked his tail off” and was “a nice kid,” Boeheim said , “We don’t know the cause yet. It’s so hard right now, so hard to believe. It’s a sad, sad day.”
Melo was selected by the Celtics with the 22nd overall pick in the the 2012 Draft. He spent one year with the team, splitting his time between the Celtics and their D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. Melo spent the 2014 season in the D-League with the Texas Legends before leaving the NBA. For his career, he played in six NBA games, all as a Celtic.
The final few years of his career were spent with professional teams outside of the NBA. Most notably, Melo returned to his home country of Brazil to play for several different squads. Marques said that Melo’s final team was Brazilian side Brasília, for which he played until December.
Marques’ tweet says that Melo, who lived with his family, passed away in his sleep.