Dejan Milojevic's Cause Of Death Explained

The Golden State Warriors are still mourning last week's loss of assistant coach Dejan Milojević, who experienced a heart attack during a team dinner in Salt Lake City (per ESPN). Milojević was 46.

At Wednesday night's home game against the Atlanta Hawks, the team played the Serbian national anthem in honor of Milojević, whose home country was Serbia. The players also honored Milojević by draping an extra jersey on one of the empty coaching chairs.

"It's very emotional just to walk into the building for the first time on a game night without Deki," Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr said to the crowd (per Associated Press). "Obviously we're all wearing our shirts, and there's images of him with his ever-present smile."

According to ESPN, Milojević had been a notable player in Serbia, winning three MVP trophies in the Adriatic League. He then coached in Montenegro and Serbia where he mentored future NBA stars such as Nikola Jokic, Ivaca Zubac, and Goga Bitadze.

Milojević caught the attention of the son of Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob. Kerr courted Milojević for the assistant job in 2021, and the Warriors clinched the 2022 NBA Championship in Milojević's first season.

How a heart attack happens

The American Heart Association says that the arteries in your body supply oxygen to your heart. Fat, cholesterol, and other substances can build up along the walls of your arteries, making it more difficult for blood to get through. An artery can become clogged altogether if some of these substances break off and form a clot. When the artery can't supply enough blood to the heart, a heart attack occurs. Heart attacks are so common in the United States that one occurs every 40 seconds.

The signs of a heart attack will vary from person to person, according to the National Institutes of Health. The most common symptom is chest pain, particularly on the left side. Some people might experience unexplained pain in their arms, jaw, shoulders, or neck. Others might sweat or have shortness of breath even though they aren't engaged in physical activity. Women might feel extremely tired for a few days. Heart attack symptoms might develop slowly and appear mild, and some people have no symptoms before having a heart attack.

[Featured image by Južne vesti via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC BY-SA 3.0]

Taking care of your heart

Although Milojević's heart health isn't publicly known, cardiologist David Maron of Stanford told ABC7 Chicago how important it was for people over 40 to get a scan for plaques in their heart, especially if they have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or a family history of heart disease. "About half of the people who die suddenly from a heart attack or cardiac arrest never had a symptom before," he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests adopting healthy habits to prevent a heart attack. Eating a diet that's low in saturated fats and high in fiber can help keep tabs on your cholesterol, and reducing sodium and alcohol can help reduce your blood pressure. Getting 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week can also reduce your risk of heart attack by keeping your weight in check and keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in a healthy range. If you already have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or type-2 diabetes, it's key to manage these conditions under your doctor's supervision to reduce your risk of heart disease.