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Condolences to the Turpin family

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Extremely saddening news Thursday evening out of Lexington as reports have been confirmed that Kentucky men's basketball great Melvin Turpin has been found dead in his home. Coroner Gary Ginn told the Courier-Journal that Turpin, 49, had committed suicide.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Melvin Turpin," Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said in a statement. "Our hearts and prayers are with his family and friends as they mourn their loss. The University of Kentucky and the Big Blue Nation will forever remember Melvin and all his contributions to our basketball program."

Turpin, an All-American center, played at UK from 1981-84. The 6-foot-11 legend ranks 16th in UK history with 1,509 career points and averaged 15.2 points per game as a senior.

He was named a Helms Foundation All-American in 1983 and garnered All-America honors from the Associated Press, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the U.S. Writers Basketball Association, United Press International and The Basketball Times in 1984. Turpin was also a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection in his final season at UK in 1984.

Turpin's career shooting percentage of 59.1 percent is third best in UK history.

He went on to play five seasons in the NBA after being drafted by the Washington Bullets with the sixth overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft. Turpin was later traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers and went on to play for the Utah Jazz and Bullets. The four-year Wildcat averaged 8.5 points and 4.6 rebounds in 361 career games in the NBA.

"I want to express my deepest sympathy to all of Melvin Turpin's family and friends," UK men's basketball head coach John Calipari released in a statement. "I also pray for their strength during this time of grief."

From everyone in the UK Athletics family, our deepest sympathies and prayers go out to Turpin's family and friends.

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