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Basketball family mourns passing of French great Frederic Forte

MIES - It is with huge sadness that FIBA on Monday heard of the passing of former France international Frederic Forte.

The former playmaker passed away of a heart attack on Sunday evening. He was 47 years old.

French Basketball Federation (FFBB) President and FIBA Central Board Member Jean-Pierre Siutat paid tribute to Forte.

"I am shocked and deeply saddened by the news of Fred Forte's death," he said. "He was a huge figure of French basketball. Fred was courageous, whole, in love with his sport and faithful to his beliefs. My first thoughts go out to his family, his daughters, his friends and his club of Limoges. I wish to pass on to them, on behalf of the French federation and all of French basketball, my most sincere condolences."

During his playing days, Forte represented France on 73 occasions between 1987 and 1999.

His professional career spanned from 1986 to 2005, during which time he suited up for Caen, Limoges, Gravelines, PSG-Racing, Iraklis Thessaloniki BC (Greece), Strasbourg as well as Italian sides Avelino and Legea Scafati. The talented point guard was part of the Limoges team crowned European champions in 1993 after beating a Benetton Treviso side led by Croatian star Toni Kukoc.

Forte also helped Limoges win three league titles (1989, 1993 and 1994).

Following the end of his playing career, he returned to Limoges where, as president, he helped the famed club make an impressive recovery, climbing up from France's third division to regain its place in the top flight Pro A and be crowned French champions in 2014 and 2015.

The news of Forte's death saw an outpouring of tributes being paid, including by the French Federation and French league, his former clubs, team-mates and players he had mentored.