Bol had been hospitalized with acute kidney failure and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a painful skin condition, within the last month or so, and his friend Tom Prichard (who, as the executive director of the Sudan Sunrise foundation, had worked closely with Bol in Sudan) announced the news on his Facebook wall today.
I am very sorry to pass on the news that Manute died this morning at UVA Hospital in Charlottesville. Sudan and the world have lost a hero and an example for all of us. Manute, we'll miss you. My prayers and best wishes go out to all his family, and all who mourn his loss.When Bol had been hospitalized, Prichard created the group "Manute Bol, get well soon" which attracted several thousand members in a very short time. The tragic passing was confirmed to FanHouse by the Sudan Sunrise organization and the University of Virginia Medical Center.
Despite only living until the age of 47, Bol created a lasting legacy as a basketball player (the only player in NBA history to record 15 or more blocks in multiple games), but even more so as a humanitarian who cared deeply for his native land of Sudan.
Bol was a second-round pick of the Washington Bullets in 1985. He spent three seasons in D.C. before moving on to the Warriors and 76ers. He returned to Washington briefly toward the end of his career. The Wizards lauded him as a "true humanitarian and an ambassador for the sport of basketball."
"Despite his accomplishments on the court, his lasting legacy will be the tireless work and causes he promoted in his native Sudan and the cities in which he played," the club said in a statement.
Philadelphia general manager Ed Stefanski released a statement on Bol's death Saturday.
"On behalf of the entire Philadelphia 76ers organization, we would like to pass along our deepest and sincerest condolences to the family of Manute during this very difficult time," Stefanski said. "Manute's impact on this city, our franchise and the game of basketball cannot be put into words. He was a person who 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."
After the NBA, Bol worked closely as an advisory board member of Sudan Sunrise, which promotes reconciliation in Sudan.
Bol was hospitalized in mid-May during a stopover in Washington after returning to the United States from Sudan. Prichard said then that Bol was in Sudan to help build a school in conjunction with Sudan Sunrise but stayed longer than anticipated after the president of southern Sudan asked him to make election appearances and use his influence to counter corruption in the county.
He said Bol had undergone three dialysis treatments and developed Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a condition that caused him to lose patches of skin. Prichard said the skin around Bol's mouth was so sore he went 11 days without eating and could barely talk.
Prichard said it's believed Bol contracted the skin disease as a reaction to kidney medication he took while in Africa.
Janis Ricker, operations manager of Sudan Sunrise, said Saturday the organization will continue its work building the school in Bol's home village in southern Sudan. She said Bol's goal was to build 41 schools throughout Sudan.
In 2004, Bol was critically injured in a car crash. Bol was riding in a cab in Connecticut when the driver lost control and slamming into a ledge before rolling over. Bol and the driver were both ejected, and Bol suffered head injuries and broke his neck, wrist and knee. A police investigation found that the driver, who died due to injuries suffered in the crash, had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.