The news of the death of Michael Ojo, who was former Florida state basketball player, during the workout at the age of 27, has been confirmed by his former club Red Star Belgrade and his school on Friday.
Ojo, who was 7feet 1 inch tall from Nigeria, was attending an individual practice session where he suddenly collapsed and then was taken to the hospital but could not be revived, as per the reports from a Serbian news outlet. The Red Star official did not confirm the cause of the player’s death as the club is waiting for the reports of the autopsy.
The coach of Florida state Leonard Hamilton said in a statement, “In all of my years of coaching, I’ve never been around a person who captivated the emotions of everybody he came into contact with like Michael. He had to be the most popular person in Tallahassee and, certainly, at Florida State University. Michael Ojo was a wonderful, wonderful human being. He was a great teammate and represented what the Seminole spirit is all about. He was one of the purest Seminoles that I have ever been around; he will be missed tremendously by the whole Seminole nation.”
After graduating from FSU, Michael started playing professionally in Serbia and has played the past three seasons. After completing his master’s degree in international studies, has was named for the ACC academic honor roll. After this, he began his professional career with FMP Belgrade and then moved to Red Star Belgrade, which played the last season of the Euro League.
Former FSU player Terance Mann said, “Not only did Michael Ojo teach me to be a leader, he taught me how to love others. He taught me that there’s more to life than basketball. … He would always tell me he has more friends than just our teammates. He encouraged me to get out of my shell and meet new people and taught me how to love FSU for what it all has to offer.”
Due to visa issues, Ojo was not unable to return to the United States during a pandemic, so he chose to stay in Belgrade. His big break in 2010 was given by Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri at the Giants of Africa camp. Ojo steadily improved himself to the point that he was invited for the private work out sessions for NBA teams. He also underwent an array of physical testing while in Tallahassee and has not shown any signs of heart problems.