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Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic buried in Serbia after suffering heart attack in the US

BELGRADE, Serbia — Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic, a mentor to two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, was buried Monday in his native Serbia after suffering a heart attack last month.

Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral on a rainy day at a Belgrade cemetery, including Warriors coach Steve Kerr, general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr., assistant coaches Chris DeMarco and Ron Adams, basketball operations consultant Zaza Pachulia and trainer Rick Celebrini.

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A man holds a photo of Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic during his funeral in Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.

AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, left, attends the funeral of late Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic in Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, left, attends the funeral of late Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic in Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.

AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr., center, attends the funeral of late Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic in Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.

Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr., center, attends the funeral of late Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic in Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.

AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

A flower-draped casket was carried by Milojevi’s former Serbian teammates.

Milojevi died Jan. 17 in Salt Lake City, where he was hospitalized after a medical emergency during a private team dinner. Milojevi, part of the staff that helped the Warriors win the 2022 NBA championship, was 46.

Milojevi’s death triggered a massive outpouring of sympathy from the basketball community and fans in his homeland, where he was a star player with Partizan Belgrade and other clubs in Serbia, Montenegro, Turkey and Spain before turning to coaching.

People watch a video tribute for late Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic during a commemoration ceremony in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024.

AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

VIDEO: Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevi dies at 46 from heart attack

Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojević, 46, has died from a heart attack at a restaurant in Salt Lake City.

Predrag Danilovi, the president of the Serbian Basketball Federation, said there was no person who did not respect and love Milojevi.

“A great basketball player, great coach left us, and above all a great man, a man without a single stain. I had that honor and pleasure to be friends with him even though we did not play together,” Danilovic said at a formal commemoration for Milojevi on Saturday.

Marko Keelj, of Serbia’s Ministry of Sports and a former basketball player, said the sport was Milojevi’s life.

“With his positive energy. he brought out the best in us,” Keelj said. “He motivated us to be better in every way, as people and as players. Deki was a friend, mentor, he was a leader.”

Serbian sports agent Misko Raznatovic speaks during a ceremony for late Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024.

Serbian sports agent Misko Raznatovic speaks during a ceremony for late Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024.

AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

Milojevi was in his third season with the Warriors. He previously coached in Serbia — where he once worked with a young Jokic before the current Denver Nuggets star came to the United States — along with Montenegro, and had been an assistant coach for the Serbian national team alongside current Hawks assistant Igor Kokokov.

Milojevi worked closely with Jokic, Clippers center Ivica Zubac, Magic center Goga Bitadze and Rockets center Boban Marjanovic, among others, during his time as a coach in Europe.

MORE:Warriors honor assistant coach Dejan Milojevi in 1st game back since his passing

People attend the funeral of late Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic in Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.

People attend the funeral of late Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic in Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.

AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

Milojevi won three consecutive MVP awards in the Adriatic League, which comprises teams from former Yugoslavia, taking those trophies in 2004, 2005 and 2006 when the 6-foot-7, 240-pound power forward was at the peak of his playing career. Jokic was MVP of that league in 2015.

Before joining the Warriors, Milojevi had NBA experience through summer league assistant-coaching stints with Atlanta, San Antonio and Houston.

People attend the funeral of late Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic in Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.

People attend the funeral of late Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic in Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.

AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

Kerr and the Warriors’ other representative will not return in time for Monday’s game against the Utah Jazz. Assistant coach Kenny Atkinson will act as head coach for Monday’s game.

Milojevi is survived by his wife, Nataa, and their children, Nikola and Maa.

ESPN’s Kendra Andrews contributed to this report.

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