Hawks' Collier dies at 28

Cardiac arrest suspected

GM: `no issues' in preseason physical

NBA notes

October 16, 2005

Atlanta Hawks center Jason Collier died early yesterday after he had trouble breathing and was stricken in his home, his father said. He was 28.

General manager Billy Knight said the cause of death was not immediately clear for the 7-foot, 260-pound player. He said Collier had "no issues" in a preseason physical given to all players.

Jeff Collier told the Associated Press that his son died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital and did not have any diagnosed health problems apart from his knees.

Team spokesman Arthur Triche initially said Collier possibly died of cardiac arrest but would not provide details. He later said the team was not sure how Collier died. Collier's agent, Richard Howell, said an autopsy was being performed.

Later, Forsyth County Coroner Lauren McDonald said the family asked him not to release any preliminary results yesterday and that he would make a statement today.

Jeff Collier said he received a phone call at 3:30 a.m. yesterday from Jason's wife, Katie, who said her husband was having trouble breathing and quickly turned blue.

"You get a call and it's your daughter-in-law crying saying she's giving him CPR and trying to keep him going," Jeff Collier said. "I guess it took awhile for the paramedics to get there."

Howell said Collier and his wife ate dinner at a restaurant Friday night and then returned home, where Collier spent time playing with his daughter.

"He started feeling real bad in the middle of the night," said Howell, who spoke with Collier's wife. "It's just very sad. I'm totally stunned and devastated."

Collier was a part-time starting center the past two seasons after playing mostly as a backup in three years with Houston. He began his college career at Indiana before transferring to Georgia Tech.

Wizards -- Hakim Warrick and Pau Gasol each scored 19 points to lead the host Grizzlies over Washington, 104-79, in an exhibition victory over Washington. Chucky Atkins had 19 for the Wizards.

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