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Doug Birrell - Utah Jazz
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Doug Birrell, Longtime Jazz Massage Therapist Passes Away

Jazz player Kyle Korver shoots free throws during warm-ups at practice while Doug Birrell watches. Utah Jazz practice between games 2 and 3 of the 1st round of the playoffs series with Denver. Wednesday, April 21, 2010 (Courtesy of Stuart Johnson, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Longtime Utah Jazz massage therapist Doug Birrell has died. The trainer who had been with the team since 1999 was just 51 years old.

Birrell was officially hired by the Jazz in 1999 after spending five years as a privately contracted massage therapist to Karl Malone and John Stockton through the team’s two trips to the NBA Finals.

“Man this one hurts!” Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell said on an Instagram. “Been with the team since before I was born made sure I was good always!!! Love you Dougie Fresh! Rest in Paradise!!!”

Originally from Redondo Beach, California, Birrell was a longtime Utah resident with his wife and three daughters.

“Rest in paradise Dougie,” forward Georges Niang said. “I have no words right now! No one out there like you!! You were simply the best.”

Birrell attended Snow College and the University of Utah before graduating at the top of his class from the Utah College of Massage Therapy in 1993 according to a team media guide.

On Saturday, Jazz center Rudy Gobert wore a custom NBA Jam shirt featuring Birrell after the Jazz victory over the Orlando Magic.

“I can’t believe he [sic] gone,” former Jazzman Mehmet Okur said in a response to an Instagram post honoring Birrell. “Already missed him.”

Prior to his time with the Jazz, Birrell worked with Alta Club’s fitness center through
Body by Banks. He also owned his own massage therapy company, Doug Birrell & Co., LMT.