Eric Montross, Former UNC basketball Star, And NBA Big Man Dies At 52

Former North Carolina and NBA big man Eric Montross, who began treatment for cancer in March, died Sunday at the age of 52, his family announced Monday.

In a statement released through the University of North Carolina, his family expressed gratitude for the immense support and overwhelming love extended by numerous individuals as he faced his challenges with his characteristic determination and grace.

Knowing Eric meant being his friend, and the family is aware that the positive impact of his generous and thoughtful way of living will persist in the lives of the many individuals he touched with his profound and genuine kindness.

His family announced that Montross passed away on Sunday, surrounded by loved ones at his residence in Chapel Hill.

Montross played under the coaching of Hall of Fame coach Dean Smith at UNC from 1990 to 1994, serving as the starting center during the Tar Heels‘ victorious 1993 national championship campaign. He earned first-team All-ACC honors that season and was a two-time Associated Press second-team All-American.

In a statement, UNC expressed profound sadness and shock over the untimely passing of Eric Montross, describing him as one of their most cherished former student-athletes. The university acknowledged Montross not only for his athletic prowess and academic achievements but also for the enduring impact he had on the community beyond the basketball court. They highlighted his qualities as a man of faith, an outstanding father, husband, and son, emphasizing his role as a prominent ambassador for the University and Chapel Hill.

Montross was chosen as the ninth overall pick in the 1994 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics. Throughout his eight-year NBA career, he played for several teams, including the Dallas Mavericks, the New Jersey Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons, and Toronto Raptors.

After retiring from professional basketball, he contributed as a radio analyst for UNC game broadcasts for 18 seasons. Additionally, Montross served as the senior major gifts director for the Rams Club, the fundraising arm of UNC’s athletic department. Known for his philanthropic endeavors, he played a key role in launching a father-child basketball camp dedicated to supporting the UNC Children’s Hospital, particularly during Father’s Day weekend.

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