Former Syracuse and Boston Celtics center Fab Melo died Saturday in his native Brazil at age 26.
A first-round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Celtics, Melo had returned home to continue his professional basketball career. He was found at his mother's home in Juiz de Fora, according to military police in Brazil.
"He was a really good kid and it's not fair that he will be defined by one thing: a 10-page paper (that was part of an academic scandal)," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim told ESPN. "He worked his tail off to become a really good player and was a nice kid.
"We don't know the cause yet. It's so hard right now, so hard to believe. It's a sad, sad day."
The 7-foot Melo played in six games for the Celtics during his brief NBA career, spending most of his time in the NBA Development League during the 2012-13 season.
In August 2013, Melo was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies and then was waived. He landed a training camp invitation from the Dallas Mavericks before the 2013-14 season but failed to secure a roster spot.
That's when Melo returned to Brazil, where he had played pro ball for the past few years.
Melo spent two seasons at Syracuse. In 2011-12, he averaged 7.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.9 blocked shots as the Orange went 34-3. He was suspended twice during that season as part of an NCAA investigation into academic improprieties in the program.