Clifford Rozier, an All-American at Louisville and former first-round pick with the Golden State Warriors, died Friday at 45, two days after suffering a heart attack in his hometown of Bradenton, Fla.
Rozier’s brother, Kobie, confirmed his death to multiple outlets, saying that the former Cardinals star was on life support after his heart attack Wednesday.
“When they went in to put stents in to work on his heart, he didn’t have heart damage,” Rozier told the Bradenton Herald. “He didn’t have any major heart damage, but all his organs shut down. It could have gone either way. It could have gone into cardiac arrest to cause the organs to shut down or the organs could have shut down and caused the blood to not flow in the heart to go into cardiac arrest.”
“He came in with cardiac arrest,” Rozier said. “… They put him in a coma and he never came out. And he passed [Friday] morning.”
After starring at Southeast High in Bradenton, where he was named Mr. Basketball in Florida and a McDonald’s All-American in 1990, the 6-foot-11 Rozier spent one season at North Carolina before transferring to Louisville. He helped lead coach Denny Crum’s Cardinals to the Sweet 16 appearances in 1993 and ’94, averaging 18.1 points and 11.1 rebounds per game to earn All-American honors as a senior.
Rozier was drafted by Golden State in the first round (No. 16 overall) in the 1994 draft and played parts of four seasons in the NBA with the Warriors, Toronto Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves. In 173 career games, he averaged 4.8 points and 5.2 rebounds.
According to his brother, Rozier focused on his family during his retirement, including his four children, one brother and three half-sisters.
“He’s the biggest, strongest guy in the family,” Kobie said, per the Bradenton Herald. “And somebody my entire life I looked up to him. … It’s a shock. You can’t be prepared for something like that. You talk to somebody one day, and you sit down and have a conversation and have fun. And you leave, and then two days later they have cardiac arrest, a heart attack, and they never recover.”