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Report: Ex-Gator, NBA big man Schintzius dies at 43

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer
Dwayne Schintzius, one of the biggest characters in Florida basketball history, died Sunday at 43, according to Tampa Bay Online. He battled cancer in recent years, but it was respiratory failure that wound up taking his life.

Schintzius was picked by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the 1990 NBA Draft, and play off and on for six teams in the league until 1999. Prior to his NBA career, Schintzius led the Gators to their first three NCAA tournament appearances in the late '80s.

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He was surrounded by family when he died at approximately 2:45 p.m. on Sunday at the Moffitt Cancer Center, where he was first admitted in 2009 after being diagnosed with Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML), an uncommon blood cancer that affects only three in 100,000 individuals in the United States each year.

He was declared cancer-free after receiving an initial successful bone-marrow transplant from his younger brother on Jan. 12, 2010 and appeared to be free of medical issues until recent complications, which required another transplant.

Schintzius requested to be cremated. Details on a memorial service are pending.

“He's at peace now,'' Schintzius' brother said. “He's not suffering any more. Now he's probably cracking jokes and making people laugh in heaven.''

Schintzius is still the only player in SEC history with more than 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, 250 assists and 250 blocks. With 1,624 points, he stands at fifth all-time in school history.

He left halfway through his senior season at Florida amid disputes with then-coach Don DeVoe. While Schintzius initially perceived his exit as a bit of an ex-communication from the program, that was never really the case, and in 2011, the charismatic big man, at that point fighting for his life, returned there to watch a game -- and received a hearty ovation.
 
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