Basketball's Manute Bol Dies at 47 of Stevens Johnson Syndrome
Manute Bol, the 7 foot-7 former NBA basketball player, has died at age 47 in Charlottesville, Virginia after a short illness that led to severe kidney trouble and a painful skin condition called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. He had just returned from his home country of Sudan, where he was dedicated to humanitarian work and helping to build a school and help counter corruption in the country.
Bol was hospitalized in mid-May during a stopover in Washington after his return to the United States. It is believed that he developed a skin condition called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome as a reaction to a kidney medication he took while in Africa. He underwent three dialysis treatments at the University of Virginia Hospital.
Stevens Johnson Syndrome, also called erythema multiforme major, is a rare type of allergic reaction that occurs in response to medication such as penicillins or sulfonamides, infections such as herpes simplex or mycoplasma, or other illness.
Symptoms include fever, facial or tongue swelling, joint aches and multiple skin lesions on the upper body, legs, arms, hands or feet. Mouth sores are also common. The skin around Bol’s mouth was reported to be so sore that he went 11 days without eating and could barely talk.
Severe cases of Stevens-Johnson syndrome have high death rates. Complications include sepsis, loss of body fluids, and lesions on internal organs leading to conditions such as myocarditis (heart inflammation), nephritis (kidney inflammation) or hepatitis.
Bol joined the NBA in 1985 and played for 10 years with Washington, Golden State, Philadelphia and Miami. Tom Prichard of the Sudan Sunrise, where Bol worked as an advisory board member, said “Sudan and the world have lost a hero and an example for all of us. Our prayers and best wishes go out to all his family, and all who mourn his loss.”
For more information about Stevens Johnson Syndrome, visit the Stevens Johnson Syndrome Foundation at www.sjsupport.org.