Fab Melo, former Syracuse big man, dies at 26

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(Getty)
(Getty)

Fab Melo, a native of Brazil and former Syracuse center, has died at the age of 26, according to multiple reports Saturday night.

Melo was found dead at his family’s home in Brazil. He reportedly went to sleep at the house Friday night and did not wake up Saturday morning. The cause of death is not yet known.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim confirmed the news in a pair of tweets.

Melo had an impressive career with the Orange. He was Big East Defensive Player of the Year his sophomore season. The 7-footer also helped lead Syracuse to a 34-3 overall record in 2011-12 and to a 1-seed in the NCAA tournament that same year. Melo, however, was suspended prior to the start of the tournament amid eligibility concerns, and became a focus of the NCAA’s investigation into Syracuse’s athletic department.

“He was a really good kid, and it’s not fair that he will be defined by one thing, a 10-page paper,” Boeheim told ESPN, referring to perceptions of Melo with regards to the NCAA’s sanctions against Syracuse. “He worked his tail off to become a really good player, and he was a nice kid.”

Melo made appearances in 30 games during his sophomore season and averaged 7.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.9 blocks.

Melo declared for the 2012 NBA draft after his sophomore season and was selected 22nd overall by the Boston Celtics. He appeared in six NBA games. After bouncing around from the Celtics to the D-League’s Maine Red Claws, to the Grizzlies, to the Dallas Mavericks, he signed with a Brazilian team, Club Athletico Club Paulistano, in 2014.

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