The Warriors announced on Wednesday that their assistant coach, Dejan Milojevic, had died after suffering a medical emergency in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Milojevic was hospitalized Tuesday night after suffering a heart attack during a special team dinner. Despite life-saving efforts, Milojevic died on Wednesday morning.
Milojevic, who was born in Serbia, was 46 years old.
“We are absolutely devastated by Diane’s sudden passing,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said in a statement issued by the team. “This is a shocking and tragic blow for everyone associated with the Warriors and an extremely difficult time for his family, friends and all of us who had the incredible pleasure of working with him.
“In addition to being an amazing 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 day with his passion and energy. We mourn with and for his wife,” Natasa and their children, Nikola and Massa, said. “Their loss is unfathomable.”
Milojevic was in his third season as an assistant coach with the Warriors after a 14-year international career, including stints in Serbia, Spain and Turkey.
After his retirement, Milojevic became the head coach of Serbian team Mega Vizura. Nearly a decade later, Golden State hired him as an assistant coach where he was primarily tasked with working closely with former No. 2 pick and 7-foot center James Wiseman. But when injuries derailed the start of Wiseman's NBA career, Milojevic turned his focus to Draymond Green and Kevon Looney.
He is also credited with helping Looney improve his rebounding in recent years, which has become an important part of Looney's game.
The Warriors were in Salt Lake City preparing for Wednesday's game against the Utah Jazz. Following the incident, the NBA postponed the contest, which will be held at a later date.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement Wednesday afternoon regarding Milojevic's death.
Sacramento Kings coach Mike Brown, who was a Golden State assistant for six seasons, also had his say on Milojevic's death.
“I am deeply saddened by Diane's passing. It was a pleasure to work with Diane during my time with the Warriors,” Brown said in a statement. Not only was he an extremely talented coach, he was an even better person. I join the entire basketball community in mourning his loss. My thoughts are with his wife Natasa and their children Nicola and Massa.”
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