NBA coach Dejan Milojevic has died suddenly after suffering a massive fatal heart attack, according to reports.
Milojevic was the beloved assistant coach for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.
He was formerly a superstar player and coach in his home nation of Serbia.
However, he unexpectedly passed away on Wednesday.
Milojevic died at a hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Associated Press reported.
He passes away less than a day after suffering a heart attack at a private team dinner on Tuesday evening.
The heartbreaking and stunning loss of the coach prompted the NBA to indefinitely postpone the scheduled Wednesday night game between the Warriors and the Utah Jazz to allow the team an opportunity to grieve and mourn the loss of a friend and mentor.
In a statement released through the team and shared on social media, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said:
“We are absolutely devastated by Dejan’s sudden passing.
“This is a shocking and tragic blow for everyone associated with the Warriors and an incredibly difficult time for his family, friends, and all of us who had the incredible pleasure to work with him,” he continued.
On behalf of the team, the head coach added:
“We grieve with and for his wife, Natasa, and their children, Nikola and Masa.”
Also weighing in on the devastating loss was NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who said:
“The NBA mourns the sudden passing of Golden State assistant coach Dejan Milojević, a beloved colleague and dear friend to so many in the global basketball community.
“In addition to winning the 2022 NBA championship in his first season with the Warriors and mentoring some of the best players in the world, Dejan had a decorated international playing career and was a distinguished head coach in his native Serbia,” the commissioner noted.
Silver added, “Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Natasa, their children, Nikola and Masa, and the Warriors organization during this tragic time.”
The AP reported that Milojevic had been a legendary power forward from Serbia who dominated Europe’s Adriatic League during his playing days and won three consecutive league MVP awards from 2004-2006.
He was the only player to win that many despite numerous stellar players and future NBA stars playing in that same league over the years.
After his playing days were finished, Milojevic transitioned into coaching and held head coach positions for different European teams in his native Serbia as well as Montenegro for several years, at one point also serving as an assistant coach for Serbia’s national team.
When he first came to America to begin coaching at the request of Coach Kerr in 2021, he first bounced around the NBA’s Summer League to gain experience before joining the Warriors’ staff.
Aside from his normal duties with Golden State, Milojevic has also served as a sort of mentor for several of the NBA’s major star players from Europe.
ESPN reported Thursday that in addition to postponing the Warriors’ Wednesday night game against the Jazz, the NBA has also now postponed Friday night’s home game for the grieving team against the Dallas Mavericks.
No dates have been set as of yet for when those two delayed games will be made up.