Family of Raptors star RJ Barrett confirms death of younger brother: 'Devastated by this great loss'

Family of Raptors star RJ Barrett confirms death of younger brother: 'Devastated by this great loss'

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The younger brother of Toronto Raptors forward RJ Barrett has died, the team confirmed in a statement on behalf of the Barrett family. 

In a joint statement with Canada Basketball, the team confirmed Nathan Barrett’s passing on Tuesday. 

RJ Barrett, #9 of the Toronto Raptors, dribbles against Tre Mann, #23 of the Charlotte Hornets, in the first half of the NBA game at Scotiabank Arena on March 3, 2024 in Toronto. (Cole Burston/Getty Images)

“It is with profound sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the loss of our beloved son and brother, Nathan Tyler Barrett, who passed away on Tuesday, March 12, surrounded by his family, church and friends,” the statement read. 

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“While our family is devastated by this great loss, we will continue to cherish the memories and time spent together. Nathan was a God-fearing young man of strong character. He was thoughtful, kind, loving, compassionate, creative, admirable, and driven.”

Nathan’s age and cause of death were not immediately known. 

The family asked for privacy, but thanked everyone for the “outpouring of love, support and prayers that we have been receiving.”

RJ Barrett dribbles the ball

RJ Barrett, #9 of the Toronto Raptors, dribbles in the second half of a game against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena on March 11, 2024 in Denver. (Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

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“Though his time with us was brief, he will live forever in our hearts.” 

RJ Barrett, who is second on the Raptors in scoring at 19.5 points per game, did not play in Wednesday’s loss at Detroit. RJ played one season at Duke before declaring for the NBA Draft. He was selected No. 3 overall by the New York Knicks in 2019 and later traded to the Raptors in December. 

Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau addressed the news of Nathan’s passing before Thursday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers. 

RJ Barrett hits a three point play

RJ Barrett, #9 of the New York Knicks, hits a three-point play against the Toronto Raptors during their game at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 11, 2023 in New York City. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

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“Before we get started on behalf of our organization, our team, we’d like to send our heartfelt condolences to the Barrett family on the loss of their son, Nathan, RJ’s brother,” he said, via the New York Post. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to them, the entire family.”

Like his brother, Nathan played high school basketball at Montverde Academy in Florida.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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