Dejan Milojević: NBA in shock after sudden death of Golden Warriors assistant coach

Salt Lake City, Utah - Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojević has died at the age of 46 in Salt Lake City after suffering a heart attack Tuesday night at a private team dinner. He was pronounced dead Wednesday morning, the team announced.

Dejan Milojević, the Golden State Warriors' assistant coach, passed at 46 after suffering a heart attack.
Dejan Milojević, the Golden State Warriors' assistant coach, passed at 46 after suffering a heart attack.  © Koca SULEJMANOVIC / AFP

Milojević, who played in Spain and Turkey as well as his homeland, where he began his coaching career, joined the Warriors as an assistant in 2021.

He was part of the staff on the team that won the NBA championship in 2022.

The Warriors said that "despite life saving efforts" he passed away in Utah, where the Warriors' Wednesday game against the Jazz was postponed.

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"We are absolutely devastated by Dejan's sudden passing," said Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr.

"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."

"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."

"We grieve with and for his wife, Natasa, and their children, Nikola and Masa. Their loss is unfathomable."

NBA pays tribute to "role model" Milojević

A minute of silence in honor of Milojević was held at the start of the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets.
A minute of silence in honor of Milojević was held at the start of the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets.  © KATELYN MULCAHY / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Teams around the league paid tribute to "Deki" with a moment of silence before Wednesday's games.

Toronto Raptors' Serbian head coach Darko Rajakovic said Milojević had been a major influence on him and many others.

"I knew Dejan since I was a teenager. He was a role model as a player, as a man, as a husband, as a coach," he told reporters.

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Milojević had been an assistant coach for the Serbian national team and worked during his time in Europe with a number of future NBA stars, including compatriot Nikola Jokić, the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player who led the Denver Nuggets to the NBA title last year.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Milojević was "a beloved colleague and dear friend to so many in the global basketball community."

Players paid tribute on social media, with Karl-Anthony Towns calling Milojević's death a "terrible loss for the NBA community" as Warriors rookie Brandin Podziemski offered a farewell to a friend.

"You changed my life in such a short time," Podziemski wrote in a post on social media. "The most important thing you ever told me was to just smile! Your joy and laughs will forever be missed."

Cover photo: Koca SULEJMANOVIC / AFP

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