Fab Melo, the Celtics’ first-round draft pick in 2012, died at age 26 on Saturday in his native Brazil, according to multiple reports.
The Celtics hadn’t issued any statement on Melo’s death as of Saturday night but Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge reacted on his Twitter account.
I'm so saddened to hear of the passing of Fab Melo. He was a good kid with a big heart. Our prayers go out to all of his loved ones. #ripfab— Danny Ainge (@danielrainge) February 12, 2017
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim told ESPN the cause of death is not yet known, but according to a report from Brazil, Melo died in his sleep. He lived with his mother and two sisters.
I'm very sorry to hear about the passing of Fab Melo. He was a kind, genuine person who was committed to doing his best while he was at ...— Jim Boeheim (@therealboeheim) February 12, 2017
Syracuse. Our staff and his teammates were fortunate to have had the opportunity to know Fab. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."— Jim Boeheim (@therealboeheim) February 12, 2017
The Celtics drafted the former Syracuse star with the 22nd overall pick. Melo appeared in just six games as a rookie for the Celtics in 2012-13, shuttling to and from the D-League Maine Red Claws, for whom he played in 33 games.
The Celtics traded Melo to the Memphis Grizzlies for Donte Greene in August 2013. The 7-foot center was waived by Memphis two weeks later and picked up by the Dallas Mavericks, who waived him Oct. 22. Melo also played for the Texas Legends of the D-League before signing overseas in 2014 with Club Athletico Paulistano in the Brazilian league.