Former Syracuse 7-footer and Boston Celtics first round pick Fab Melo died in his home country of Brazil.

“He was a really good kid, and it’s not fair that he will be defined by one thing, a 10-page paper,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim told ESPN shortly after hearing Melo had died at his mother’s house. “He worked his tail off to become a really good player, and was a nice kid.”

“We don’t know the cause yet,” added a shaken Boeheim. “It’s so hard right now, so hard to believe. It’s a sad, sad day.”

Melo, 26, was playing professionally in Brazil. He spent two seasons playing for Boeheim at Syracuse and was a part of the Orange team that went 34-3 and 17-1 in the Big East in 2012.

Melo averaged 7.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.9 blocks in the 2011-12 campaign. He was suspended twice during the season – once for three games during the regular season and again for the NCAA tournament due to academics.

Melo’s academic eligibility was also a part of the NCAA investigation in which the program self-imposed a postseason ban for the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics selected the 7-foot Melo with the No. 22 pick in the 2012 draft, one spot after landing Jared Sullinger. Melo logged just 36 minutes in six appearances during his rookie season and spent much of the year with the Maine Red Claws of the D-League. The Celtics traded Melo to the Memphis Grizzlies in August 2013 and he was waived soon after. Melo signed with the Dallas Mavericks before the 2013-14 season but was waived before the start of the regular season.

While Sullinger emerged as a key contributor for the Celtics, Melo is remembered as one of Boston’s first-round whiffs. He’s best remembered for a pair of head-shaking incidents with Boston.

The first came at the league’s rookie orientation where he broke a folding chair while sitting next to other first-year players waiting for a photo shoot. Amid some of his finest play in the D-League, Melo concussed himself while walking into a door frame in a hotel in South Dakota.

Melo had played professionally in Brazil the last few years.

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