Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic died Wednesday morning after suffering a heart attack during a private team dinner in Utah the previous night. He was 46.
“We are absolutely devastated by Dejan's sudden passing," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said in a statement by the team. “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.”
Milojevic was hospitalized in Salt Lake City on Tuesday night. The NBA postponed the Warriors-Jazz game scheduled for Wednesday night in Utah and the Dallas Mavericks-Warriors game scheduled for Friday night in San Francisco. New dates have yet to be announced.
We are absolutely devastated by Dejan Milojević'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.
We grieve… pic.twitter.com/0wExlLlu5z
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 17, 2024
As a player, Milojevic was a 6-foot-7, 240-pound power forward who was named most valuable player of the Adriatic League three straight years, from 2004 to 2006. He went on to coach in Europe for eight years. During a stint in his native Serbia, Milojevic served as a mentor to current Denver Nuggets star and two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic.
"Rest in peace Deki!," Jokic wrote on Instagram, along with a photo of the two of them.
“He challenged me,” Zubac told The Times in 2020. “I knew I got to get to the states to work out for the teams to show myself, but at the same point, I was like, with everything that’s waiting for me, the best way to show myself is to help this team qualify for Adriatic League and do all the things that are required for me to win. I kept that in mind and was like, OK, it’s time to turn it up.”
Milojevic was in his third season with the Warriors.
"In addition to being a terrific basketball coach, Dejan was one of the most positive and beautiful human beings I have ever known, someone who brought joy and light to every single day with his passion and energy," Kerr said. "We grieve with and for his wife, Natasa, and their children, Niola and Masa. Their loss is unfathomable."
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.