Celtics guard Marcus Smart announced on Twitter Monday night that his 63-year-old mother, Camellia, had lost her battle with cancer Sunday.
“[You’re] my mom my mommy my role model my friend my glue my biggest fan and my biggest critic,” Smart wrote. “You put everyone and everything before yourself. I made you a promise when I was 9 years old that I would make it and you and dad can rest. [I] never thought that rest would be in paradise. Words can’t explain how much I love you and miss you.”
Smart revealed in April that his mother had been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of cancer caused by abnormalities in the blood-forming cells in bone marrow. He said then that bone marrow transplants were not a viable option and there was no cure for his mother’s condition, so doctors were just “trying to preserve life.”
Smart learned of his mother’s condition when he visited her in Texas in April while he was recovering after tearing a tendon in his thumb the previous month. Camellia Smart had previously survived quadruple-bypass surgery.
“Everybody, we wish it wouldn’t happen to us,” Smart said in April. “We pray and hope. A lot of us, we forget and we take life for granted. We think it’s not going to happen to us until it actually does. And then you have to be faced with a problem that some people have never faced before.”
Smart, whose older brother Todd died from cancer in 2004, said his mother told him his return to the court would bring her the most joy, and he was back playing in Boston’s opening-round playoff series against the Bucks. During the postseason, Smart wrote messages to his mother on his sneakers, including “Mama’s Boy” and “I fight, you fight.”
In July, Smart re-signed with Boston on a four-year, $52 million deal, and he said then how much it meant to his mother that he was going to remain a Celtic.
“I know [you’re] in a better place with no more worries no more hurt no more sadness or pain,” Smart wrote to his mother on Monday night. “Hate you let you go but I thank God for allowing me to have one of his [angels] to call my mom.”