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Family members shocked over former UK player's suicide

By: Cheryl Glassford Email
By: Cheryl Glassford Email

Family, friends, and fans were shocked after a man who was seemingly happy on the outside, took his own life.

Authorities say former UK and professional basketball player Mel Turpin committed suicide at his home on Princess Arch in Lexington.

The discovery was made by a family friend who had come by to check on Turpin.

"I didn't know he was depressed or anything, before this..for suicide..I wouldn't have ever said he would do this," said Margaret Burrus, Turpin's sister.

Turpin's wife had been in the hospital for heart problems, and he also struggled with his health.

"He had diabetes and was trying to keep it under control," said Burrus, "it was rough for him."

The Fayette County Coroner says Turpin died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Friends in the neighborhood could not believe the news.

"I remember him as a child - the 'twin towers'," said neighbor Allan Mason, "it's a sad day for the neighborhood and his family."

The youngest of 6 siblings, Turpin's older sister refers to him as the baby of the family, who grew up to do big things that he'll be remembered for.

"Slam dunks..and the Tennessee game," Burrus says are some of the things she hopes people will think about, when her brother comes to mind.

She also hopes her brother knew just how much he was admired.

"I was proud of him," said Burrus.

Family members say in recent years, Turpin has worked as a security guard at UK hospital.

NEWSFIRST was not able to reach Turpin's wife, because family members say she has been in the hospital due to her heart problems.


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