On Sunday February 2, former Buccs import player Roneil Powell, 43, unexpectedly passed away of a cardiac arrest.
The devastating news comes just days after the family’s 4-year-old son Ezequiel was diagnosed with a rare form of inoperable cancer.
Ron is American and his wife Alex Porrata, daughter Yolanda and son Ezequiel reside in California’s Marin County.
On a website dedicated to Ezequiel and Ron, Ron is described as, “a beautiful man, beloved by everyone who knew him.”
Ron was the Geraldton Buccaneers’ import in the 1997 season when the side lost the grand final by 2-points.
Local and former Buccs player Ryan Thompson was good friends with Ron and stayed in touch with him since they played basketball together.
“Ron was down to earth and enjoyed life,” Ryan said.
“We kept in touch via email for a few years and then when my (now) wife and I went travelling overseas, we stayed a couple of nights with him in San Francisco.
“Since then we have kept in touch mainly through Facebook keeping tabs on each other’s families as they grew and other special occasions, but the great thing was in all those years, he never changed from being a down to earth person.”
Ryan said he had only been in touch with Ron a day before he passed away.
“We knew about his son for a couple of weeks and had actually been in touch with him the day before he passed away, just to wish him and the family all the best and that we were thinking about them,” Ryan said.
“His response was that it was a very hard time, but he was happy that his son was now home, but there was still a long road to go.”
It was just the next day that Ryan and his family received the sad news from former Buccs player/coach Dan Hunt.
“We were completely shocked and saddened. What his family is going through already and then this, it was and still is hard to believe,” Ryan said.
Since the sad news, a fund has been set up for people to donate to the family.
"I would strongly encourage the Geraldton community to help out Ron’s family, especially the Basketball community who derived such pleasure watching Ron play and the success generated by him in the past," Ryan said.
"He is someone that epitomises what the Buccs are about and is someone we can all identify with – he was a very good basketballer, but was an even better person.
"He will be missed by everyone who met or played with him."
Donations can be made via PayPal to the Roneil Powell Memorial Fund. For more information or to donate visit www.ezpowell.org