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Dikembe Mutombo Comments on Death of 8-Year-Old Matadi Sela Petit

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 26, 2018

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 1: NBA Legend Dikembe Mutombo speaks during the Opening Ceremony at the Basketball Without Boarders Africa program at the American International School of Johannesburg on August 1, 2018 in Gauteng province of Johannesburg, South Africa.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo spoke about the tragic death of Matadi Sela Petit, the Congolese eight-year-old who died from a "rare genetic reaction to anesthesia" on Friday after Mutombo brought him to the United States for surgery to remove a large tumor from the child's face. 

According to TMZ Sports, "[Mutombo's] been working with the 8-year-old boy's family to transport his body back to the Democratic Republic of Congo for a proper burial, which should happen soon. He says dealing with the loss is tough, but everyone is hanging in there."

"It's never easy when you've lost someone," Mutombo said.

The Dikembe Mutombo Foundation also previously released a statement on the boy's death (h/t NBC News):

"We are devastated by the loss of Matadi and our heart goes out to his father, his mother and the rest of his family, and all his old and new friends. Despite the diligent efforts of his medical caregivers, Matadi did not recover and he passed away last night."

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