His cousin George Bol said Mr. Bol had internal bleeding and other complications from Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a rare skin disease that he contracted from a medication he received in Africa.
Mr. Bol, one of the two tallest players in NBA history, was also one of its most exotic and endearing -- and surely the only one to have killed a lion with a spear. His unusual journey to basketball stardom began in southern Sudan, where he was a cattle-herding member of the Dinka tribe and never touched a basketball until his late teens. After catching the eye of an American coach working in Sudan, Mr. Bol made his way to the United States without knowing a word of English.
During and after his NBA career, he tried to draw international attention to the humanitarian needs of his native Sudan, supporting rebel political movements and trying to bring peace to his embattled homeland.
Charles Barkley, who was Manute's teammate with the Philadelphia 76ers, had one of the kindest and most perceptive comments about an athlete I've ever read or heard: "You know, a lot of people feel sorry for him, because he's so tall and awkward. But I'll tell you this -- if everyone in the world was a Manute Bol, it's a world I'd want to live in."
Bol was beloved by Washingtonians who loved his perpetually positive approach to life. Rest in Peace, Manute.