Dejan Milojević, the assistant coach of the Golden State Warriors died Wednesday after suffering a heart attack during a private team dinner in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, the Warriors announced on Wednesday.
“We are absolutely devastated by Dejan’s sudden passing,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
“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.”
According to USA Today, 46-year-old Milojević travelled to Salt Lake City on Monday along with the Warriors in preparation for their Wednesday matchup against the Utah Jazz.
However, the National Basketball Association (NBA) decided to postpone the game, after Milojevic’s sudden passing, and it will now be rescheduled.
In a statement, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said: “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.”
Silver recalled Milojević’s 2022 NBA championship victory and praised his mentorship of some of the best players in the world.
The Serbian coach previously served as head coach in Montenegro and Serbia and joined the Warriors coaching staff in 2021. He was a three-time Adriatic Basketball Association MVP and won a gold medal for Serbia and Montenegro at the 2001 Eurobasket.
He also served as an assistant coach for Serbia’s national team and coached a young Nikola Jokic in Serbia, long before any saw Jokic as a two-time MVP who could lead a team to an NBA championship.
Jokic paid tribute to his former coach, posting, “Rest in Peace. Condolences to the family,” on Instagram.