Memphis basketball player Karim Sameh Azab died Thursday from leukemia, the school announced.
After suffering from shoulder discomfort before last season’s American Athletic Conference tournament, Azab was diagnosed with leukemia in April, and had been undergoing treatment.
“The University of Memphis is deeply saddened by the passing of Karim Azab,” Memphis president M. David Rudd said. “It is never easy when someone so young has their life cut short. Karim showed great courage battling with tremendous fight and determination. He was proud of being a Tiger, and Karim will be missed immensely. Our thoughts are with his family, as well as his friends, teammates and fellow UofM students, faculty and staff. The spirit of Karim will never be forgotten at the University of Memphis.”
Azab, from Egypt, sat out the 2016-17 season while awaiting clearance from the NCAA but played 84 minutes for the Tigers last season. He scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds last season and played a key role for a three-game stretch during conference play.
Azab also represented Egypt at the FIBA Africa U18 Championship in 2014, totaling 40 points and 38 rebounds in seven games en route to winning a gold medal.
“It is with great sadness and personal heartache that we mourn the passing of Karim Azab,” Memphis athletic director Tom Bowen said. “Karim was a wonderful young man who was excited to be a part of the University of Memphis and Tiger basketball. My prayers and thoughts go out to Karim’s parents and family.”
Following Azab’s initial diagnosis, Memphis set up a donation page to help his family with medical expenses. According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the page helped raise more than $12,000.
Azab also received the Coach Dave Loos MVP Award at the Tennessee Coaches vs. Cancer Tip-Off Reception in September.