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Former Sixer Manute Bol dead at 47


By Keith Pompey




A giant among even NBA stars and a towering symbol of hope in his native Sudan, Manute Bol, a former 76er, died Saturday morning. He was 47.


Bol passed away at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville where he was being treated for acute kidney failure and a skin disease, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.


The 7-foot-7 center, who could be an intimidating defensive presence on the court, was also known for his humanitarian efforts in Sudan and founded Sudan Sunrise, a group based in Lenexa, Kan., that promotes reconciliation in Sudan.


"Sudan and the world have lost a hero and an example for all of us," Tom Prichard, executive director of the group Sudan Sunrise, said in an e-mail obtained by The Associated Press. "Manute, we'll miss you. Our prayers and best wishes go out to all his family, and all who mourn his loss."


Bol played 10 seasons in the NBA with the Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Sixers and Miami Heat. He averaged 2.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.3 blocks for his career.


Bol first came to the Sixers via a trade with Golden State in 1990 for a first-round draft pick. After three seasons in Philadelphia, he signed with the Miami Heat for the 1993-94 season.


But after playing only eight games in Miami, Bol finished the season with brief stints with the Bullets and the Sixers again. His final NBA season was 1994-95 with Warriors.


During and after his career, Bol attempted to draw international attention to the desperate circumstances in Sudan. He supported rebel political movements and tried to bring peace to his embattled homeland.


"Manute's impact on this city, our franchise and the game of basketball cannot be put into words," Sixers president and general manager Ed Stefanski said in a statement. "He was a person who was continually giving of himself through his generosity and humanitarian effort in order to make the world around him a much better place."


Bol was admitted to the hospital last month while stopping over in a Dulles, Va., hotel after spending several months in Sudan to help build a school with his Sudan Sunrise group. Bol stayed in the Sudan longer than anticipated after being asked to stay through the Sudanese elections.


His health deteriorated during his time there. Bol underwent three dialysis treatments and developed Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a condition that causes its victims to lose patches of skin. Prichard told the Associated Press that it's believed Bol contracted the skin disease as a reaction to kidney medication he took in Africa.

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