Manute Bol was 7’7 and was an humanitarian, who became a basketball sensation in the 1980s as a skeletally thin shot-blocking giant with the Washington Bullets and other professional teams, and who devoted his post-basketball life to improving the lives of his fellow natives of Sudan, died June 19 at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville. He was 47 years old.
His cousin George Bol said Mr. Bol had internal bleeding and other complications from Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a rare skin disease that he contracted from a medication he received in Africa.
Mr. Bol, one of the two tallest players in NBA history, was also one of its most exotic and endearing — and surely the only one to have killed a lion with a spear. His unusual journey to basketball stardom began in southern Sudan, where he was a cattle-herding member of the Dinka tribe and never touched a basketball until his late teens. After catching the eye of an American coach working in Sudan, Mr. Bol made his way to the United States without knowing a word of English.
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