7-Foot-7 NBA Shot Blocker Manute Bol Dies at 47

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Known as a gentle giant from Sudan, Manute Bol has died Saturday at the age of 47. Bol was a thin, 7-foot-7 shot blocker who played 10 seasons in the NBA.

Never a star, Bol became a fan favorite and a close teammate. Yet his lasting mark will undoubtedly be off the court -- he was dedicated to humanitarian work for his home continent of Africa. 

Bol died at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville, where he had been staying since May. Bol suffered from severe kidney trouble and a painful skin condition, according to Tom Prichard, executive director of the group Sudan Sunrise.

Bol played for the Washington (then) Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat. After breaking into the league in 1985, he averaged 2.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.3. blocks over his 10-year career. He led the league in blocks in 1985-86 and 1988-89.

"Manute's impact on this city, our franchise and the game of basketball cannot be put into words," 76ers president and general manager Ed Stefanski said in a statement. "He ... was continually giving of himself through his generosity and humanitarian efforts in order to make the world around him a much better place, for which he will always be remembered."