Raptors Star RJ Barrett and Family Say They’re ‘Devastated’ After His 19-Year-Old Younger Brother Dies

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The family said Nathan Tyler Barrett passed away on Tuesday "surrounded by his family, church and friends" in a statement

RJ Barrett and his brother, Nathan
RJ Barrett and his brother, Nathan

Toronto Raptors star RJ Barrett and his family are mourning the loss of the athlete's younger brother, Nathan.

The Raptors and Canada Basketball released a statement from the Barrett family on Thursday that said, “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 family said they are "devastated" and "would like to ask for privacy" in Thursday's statement.

“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.”

“During this difficult time, our family would like to ask for privacy but greatly appreciates the outpouring of love, support and prayers that we have been receiving. Though his time with us was brief, he will live forever in our hearts.”

<p>RJ Barrett/Instagram</p> RJ Barrett and his brother Nathan

RJ Barrett/Instagram

RJ Barrett and his brother Nathan

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A cause of death was not provided.

Raptors analyst Blake Murphy reported that RJ, 23, is taking time away from the team while he mourns the loss.

RJ, a Toronto native, is new to the Raptors organization this season. In December, the New York Knicks traded him, Immanuel Quickley and a 2nd-round pick in a deal that sent OG Anunoby to New York.

<p>Dustin Bradford/Getty</p> RJ Barrett

Dustin Bradford/Getty

RJ Barrett

Once the trade was finalized, RJ excitedly reacted to the return to his home country on Instagram. In the caption of a photo of his Raptors jersey, he wrote, "The boy is back home."

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At the time, Raptors president Masai Ujiri said, "RJ is a versatile wing who is, of course, well-known in his hometown, and seeing him in a Raptors uniform will be a special moment for our fans and for all Canadians."

This season, RJ, who was drafted third overall by New York in 2019, is averaging 20.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 4 assists in a Raptors uniform.

Nathan, meanwhile, was also an athlete in school and found success in track and field and basketball, Sportsnet reported. He was studying to be a pilot at the time of his death.

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