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Dejan Milojević, the Golden State Warriors assistant coach, has died at 46

Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojević smiles during an NBA preseason basketball game against the Denver Nuggets San Francisco, Friday, Oct. 14, 2022.
Jeff Chiu
/
AP
Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojević smiles during an NBA preseason basketball game against the Denver Nuggets San Francisco, Friday, Oct. 14, 2022.

Updated January 18, 2024 at 1:13 PM ET

Dejan Milojević, an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, died unexpectedly from a heart attack on Wednesday. He was 46.

The team said Wednesday morning Milojević had been hospitalized the night before during a team dinner in Salt Lake City. About an hour after the team's announcement, the NBA postponed the Warriors' Wednesday night game against the Utah Jazz. Friday's game against the Dallas Mavericks has also been postponed.

At about 3:30 p.m., the team announced Milojević's death.

"We are absolutely devastated by Dejan's sudden passing," head coach Steve Kerr said. "This is a shocking 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."

Kerr added, "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."

Milojević is survived by his wife, Natasa, and his children, Nikola and Masa.

Milojević, a native of Belgrade, Serbia, was in his third season as the assistant coach with the Warriors. Before that, he spent one season as the head coach of the Budućnost team in the Adriatic Basketball Association league in Montenegro. He additionally was the head coach for the Mega Basket team, in Belgrade for eight years, and participated in summer leagues for the Atlanta Hawks, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets.

"The NBA mourns the sudden passing of Golden State assistant coach Dejan Milojević, a beloved colleague and dear friend to so many in the global basketball community," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said.

Prior to his coaching career, Milojević played professional basketball for 14 seasons internationally, and was named the most valuable player of the Adriatic league three times in a row, from 2004 to 2006.

"The ABA Liga family is deeply saddened by the too-early passing of Dejan Milojević, we express our deepest condolences to his loved ones," the Adriatic league said. "Dejan was a player, coach, and most importantly a great man, he gave us many legendary memories both on and off the court."

The ABA league said it would hold a minute of silence for Milojević in several of its games, while the Los Angeles Lakers held a minute of silence for Milojević in its Wednesday night game against the Dallas Mavericks.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ayana Archie