Fab Melo cause of death: the former Syracuse star center passed away after what is believed to be a heart attack. According to reports out of Brazil, he was found at his home.
Melo, the 2012 Big East Defensive Player of the Year, passed away in his sleep at his home, according to a tweet by ESPN Brazil’s Everaldo Marques.
Chocante a morte do Fab Melo, encontrado morto em casa hoje pela manhã. Morava com a mãe e duas irmãs, foi dormir ontem e não acordou mais.
— Everaldo Marques (@everaldomarques) February 12, 2017
A rough translation of Marques’ tweet:
Shocking death of Fab Melo, found dead at home this morning. Lived with his mother and two sisters, went to sleep last night and never woke up.
Reports out of Brazil say that Fab Melo’s cause of death is suspected to be a heart attack.
Aps 26 anos, foi encontrado morto em sua casa em juiz de fora o ala pivo brasileiro Fab Melo. A causa pode ter sido um ataque cardíaco. ?? pic.twitter.com/DDAtUtegHy
— Jorge de Sá (@JorgeDesa) February 12, 2017
ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reached out to Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim for comment after the news broke:
“He was a really good kid, and it’s not fair that he will be defined by one thing: a 10-page paper,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim told ESPN shortly after hearing Melo had died at his mother’s house. “He worked his tail off to become a really good player and was a nice kid.”
“We don’t know the cause yet,” a shaken Boeheim added. “It’s so hard right now, so hard to believe. It’s a sad, sad day.”
Melo played two years at Syracuse, breaking out as a defensive stalwart in the middle of Boeheim’s zone as a sophomore in 2011-2012. He averaged 7.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks in just over 25 minutes per game for the Orange. Melo wound up serving multiple suspensions for academic reasons that season, and missed Syracuse’s entire NCAA Tournament run. The Orange were a No. 1 seed, finishing the season 34-3, and ultimately lost to Jared Sullinger’s Ohio State team in the Elite Eight.
Melo went on to be the 22nd overall pick by the Boston Celtics in the 2012 NBA Draft. He played six games for the franchise, spending most of his time in the D-League, before moving back to his native Brazil, where he continued his professional career.
Melo was 26 years old.