Brooklyn Nets superfan Jeffrey Gamblero died Sunday from injuries sustained in a fall from a second-story window, fiancée Kristi Evans confirmed. The 38-year-old, whose real name is Jeffrey Vanchiro, was placed on life support Saturday night with severe brain trauma and a fractured spinal cord, ESPN reports.
“We lost a brilliant, unique, incredible man today. Please tell me your stories about Jeffrey Gamblero so I can share them with the world,” Evans wrote on Twitter.
Gamblero was staying at his father Sylvester’s house in Queens, New York, at the time of the incident, Evans told the New York Times Sunday. He had just woken up and was disoriented when he jumped headfirst out a second-story window.
“He’s never, ever exhibited any suicidal tendencies. He jumped out of bed, ran halfway down the hallway … and then threw himself out a window headfirst and landed on his head,” Evans told ESPN.
Doctors performed brain surgery and Gamblero was initially able to breathe on his own. But his condition deteriorated Sunday and he was placed on life support.
Gamblero was Nets season-ticket holder and a fixture at the Barclays Center, where his neon-colored outfits and boisterous support of the home team garnered frequent attention from fellow fans. But the New York native had struggled to cope in recent weeks after a viral confrontation with Madison Square Garden security during a Dec. 2 game between the Nets and the New York Knicks, his family said.
Security asked Gamblero to leave the arena after receiving complaints that he was being too loud. Gamblero refused to leave, said he was not being offensive to other fans and removed his prosthetic leg in protest. Ultimately, staffers carried him out against his will, with several fans taking video.
“An unruly fan was ejected after MSG security received multiple complaints from fans sitting in that area. The fan was warned multiple times before being removed. He will not be permitted back into Madison Square Garden,” a Knicks spokesperson said at the time.
Gamblero suffered minor head and back injuries and was “bawling hysterically” as a result of the encounter, Evans said. “After that, he was a completely different person. He was paranoid. He was erratic. He was frightened. He was horrified. He was a bit delusional. He was having a lot of trouble sleeping. He couldn’t sleep at all. When he would sleep, or try to sleep, it would only take about 10 or 15 minutes before he would jump up screaming covered in sweat,” she said.
The Nets front office embraced Gamblero as one of the team’s premier fans and invited him to fly on the team plan last season when Brooklyn played the Atlanta Hawks in London, the Wall Street Journal reports. Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormack released a statement Sunday in remembrance of Gamblero.
“On behalf of ownership and the entire organization, I am terribly saddened to learn about Jeffrey’s death. A proud Brooklynite, Jeffrey was a passionate Nets fan and one of our most visible and loyal supporters. I was delighted that he joined the team on our trip to London last season and I always enjoyed his enthusiasm while dancing and cheering during Nets games at Barclays Center. The entire organization expresses our deepest condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed.” Yormack said.
The New York Knicks addressed Gamblero’s death in a statement Monday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” Knicks Vice President of Public Relations Jonathan Supranowitz said.