Clifford Rozier, who was an NBA first-round draft pick in 1994, died at the age of 45 after suffering a heart attack, his brother Kobie Rozier told the Bradenton Herald.
Clifford Rozier went into cardiac arrest in East Bradenton on Wednesday night when paramedics arrived to give him CPR and take him in an ambulance to Manatee Memorial Hospital, Kobie Rozier said.
"When they went in to put stents in to work on his heart, he didn't have heart damage," Rozier said. "He didn't have any major heart damage, but all his organs shut down. It could have gone either way. It could have gone into cardiac arrest to cause the organs to shut down or the organs could have shut down and caused the blood to not flow in the heart to go into cardiac arrest."
Medical officials are waiting to figure out what exactly happened, Rozier said.
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"He came in with cardiac arrest," Rozier said. "... They put him in a coma and he never came out. And he passed (Friday) morning."
Kobie said he saw Clifford the day before it happened. Clifford's mother and family were notified Thursday, because when the paramedics worked on Clifford upon arriving, they needed to cut his clothes off and his identification, which was in his wallet, got discarded so he entered Manatee Memorial as a John Doe, Kobie Rozier said.
"It wasn't until the next morning when one of the emergency doctors or whatever came in and said, 'That's Clifford Rozier,' " Kobie said.
Clifford Rozier played high school basketball at Southeast High in Bradenton, Florida, before playing at North Carolina and Louisville. He was later selected 16th overall in the 1994 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors.
His NBA career lasted four seasons, where he played for the Warriors, Raptors and Timberwolves.
But Clifford was more than a basketball player to Kobie.
"Everybody else only knew him as a basketball player," Kobie said. "I knew him as a really good guy. Kind guy. Everything he had been through and doing, he was always kind to you."
Clifford Rozier, who was retired from the NBA and focused on his family, had four children, one brother and three half-sisters.
"He's the biggest, strongest guy in the family," Kobie said. "And somebody my entire life I looked up to him. ... It's a shock. You can't be prepared for something like that. You talk to somebody one day, and you sit down and have a conversation and have fun. And you leave, and then two days later they have cardiac arrest, a heart attack, and they never recover."
Kobie said Clifford was a private person and was doing pretty well the past three or four years.
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