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Thomas and his mother spoke frequently, but one phone conversation in April 2011 sticks out. At the...

Thomas and his mother spoke frequently, but one phone conversation in April 2011 sticks out. At the time, Thomas thought it was just another talk. But what his mother said ultimately changed his life forever. "She was like, 'If anything ever happens to me, I just want you to know you're my chosen one. I want you to promise me that you are going to try your hardest and your best to make it,'" Thomas said. "I told my mom I'm going to make it and take care of my whole family." One day later, on April 18, Thomas received a voicemail from his younger brother. His mother was dead. She went to bed early to prepare for a trip to Chicago to visit her ailing grandmother, but she never woke up. She died from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the myocardium becomes too thick, making it harder for the heart to pump blood. She had unknowingly battled the condition for years; it has few symptoms and often goes undiagnosed...

Eric Duick's article on SI.com about Shamarko Thomas' heart-breaking journey through his Syracuse career.
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