Dejan Milojevic
Dejan Milojevic Image Credit: AP

Miami: Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic has died at the age of 46 after suffering a heart attack at a team dinner in Salt Lake City, the NBA team said on Wednesday.

The Serbian coach, who played in Spain and Turkey as well as his homeland, where he began his coaching career, had joined the Warriors as an assistant in 2021.

He was part of the staff on the team which won the NBA championship in 2022.

The Warriors said that "despite life saving efforts" he passed away late on Wednesday morning after collapsing Tuesday night at the private dinner in Utah, where the Warriors had been scheduled to play the Jazz on Wednesday night.

"We are absolutely devastated by Dejan's sudden passing," said Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr.

"This is a shocking and tragic blow for everyone associated with the Warriors and an incredibly difficult time for his family, friends, and all of us who had the incredible pleasure to work with him.

"In addition to being a terrific basketball coach, Dejan was one of the most positive and beautiful human beings I have ever known, someone who brought joy and light to every single day with his passion and energy.

"We grieve with and for his wife, Natasa, and their children, Nikola and Masa. Their loss is unfathomable."

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Milojevic was "a beloved colleague and dear friend to so many in the global basketball community.

"In addition to winning the 2022 NBA championship in his first season with the Warriors and mentoring some of the best players in the world, Dejan had a decorated international playing career and was a distinguished head coach in his native Serbia," Silver noted.

Milojevic had also been an assistant coach for the Serbian national team and worked during his time in Europe with a number of future NBA stars, including compatriot Nikola Jokic, the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player who led the Denver Nuggets to the NBA title last year.

The Warriors' game against the Jazz was postponed to a date yet to be announced.