Former Bleus Center Smith Dies

19 December 2011

French basketball is in mourning following the death of former national team player Ronnie Smith.

The Texas-born center, who played for France at EuroBasket 1999 and helped Les Bleus clinch a fourth-place finish to qualify for the Sydney Olympics, died on Saturday in a car crash in the United States.

Smith first played for France in 1995 in a game against Lithuania.

In French basketball, he competed for Vichy, Roanne, Voiron, Nancy, Besancon, Gravelines, Villeurbanne and Pau Orthez.

Smith, who was 49, had lived in Georgia and worked there as a police officer for the past four years.

According to the French Basketball Federation, he died in an accident while responding to an emergency call.

The patrol car he was in left the road and hit several trees, causing fatal injuries.

"The French Basketball Federation sends condolences to his wife and two daughters," a statement said.

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