Manute Bol Passes Away

As first reported by a Facebook group affiliated with one of his charities, Manute Bol passed away this morning at the age of 47. (A screengrab of the Facebook message follows after the jump. Thanks to MLB.com's Mike McCall for providing it.)

Sudan Sunrise, a charity Bol has worked with, is listed as the contact for that group, and responded via email: "Sudan Sunrise is very sorry to pass on the news that Manute Bol died this morning, June 19, 2010, at UVA Hospital in Charlottesville, VA. Sudan and the world have lost a hero and an example for all of us. Manute, we'll miss you. Our prayers and best wishes go out to all his family, and all who mourn his loss."

Even as Twitter-sourced stories go, Bol's death initially seemed sketchy and light on details, but that Facebook group had been updating members on Bol's condition since he was hospitalized for kidney problems in mid-May. This tweet was the first I saw that noted the group sent a message to members informing them of Bol's passing this morning.

Bol spent ten seasons in the NBA, roaming the paint with his lean, 7'7" frame and specializing as a shot-blocker. He ranks second to Mark Eaton in blocks per game, and twice blocked 15 shots in one contest.

But it is his post-basketball career of philanthropy and service that merits the lion's share of Bol's popularity. His efforts in the Sudan, his native country, were recently praised by the KC Star's Sam Mellinger, and they will be his lasting legacy. Mellinger also tweeted that Bol has died, as has New York Times reporter Nick Kristof, and the Star has published a report on Bol's passing.

"Saint" is not a word used to describe many people. But I suspect it will be used many times to describe the great Manute Bol.

The Facebook message in question:

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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