Kyle Korver is one of four brothers, and the Cavs guard is mourning the loss of his youngest brother, Kirk Korver. Kirk died at the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City on March 20, 2018. Kirk was just 27 years old at the time of his death. According to Garden Chapel, Kirk is survived by the following people.
Kevin and Laine Korver of Pella, his brothers: Kyle and Juliet Korver of Cleveland, Ohio, Klayton and Kelly Korver of Knoxville, Iowa, and Kaleb and Macy Korver of Portland, Oregon, his grandparents: Reverend Harold and Shirley Korver of Paramount, California, and his girlfriend Ella Meier. Kirk is also survived by many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and other family.
Like all of his brothers, Kirk was a star basketball player at Pella High School before moving on to play at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Korver family has tried to lean on their faith during a very trying time since Kirk’s sudden death. Kirk’s mother Laine explained to ESPN that the family thought Kirk could be feeling a little down, but did not think anything serious was going on.
“We thought maybe he was a little depressed or something,” Laine told ESPN. “But no one would have suspected that he was that sick.”
Days later the Korver family was mourning the loss of Kirk. Kyle has tried to honor his brother’s life during the Cavs playoff run, but is also still trying to grieve his loss.
Learn more about Kyle’s youngest brother, Kirk.
1. Kirk Died on March 20, 2018 After a Short Battle With an Undisclosed Illness
Things moved quickly with Kirk’s health, and the family experienced a wide range of emotions. After returning from a Los Angeles trip to watch Kyle play the Lakers and Clippers, Kirk’s parents opted to take Kirk to the hospital after he was not recovering from an illness as expected.
According to ESPN, the family learned Kirk’s internal organs were failing, but appeared to receive good news after Kirk was matched for a liver transplant arriving from Colorado. The morning of the scheduled surgery, things took a drastic turn, and it would alter the Korver family forever.
“At 4 a.m., they intubated him,” Kevin explained to ESPN. “At 10 o’clock, he coded for the first time. About 11, 11:30, he coded the second time. And we pulled all the machines off at 1 o’clock. So we went from ‘He’s going to get a liver. He was the No. 1 option’ to ‘Your son is dead.’ And that was in 15 hours. I mean, you talk about roller coaster. … That is as intimate and raw as you can be as a family.”
2. Kirk Was the Youngest of the 4 Korver Brothers
Kirk was the youngest of four brothers, and in some families this could lead to being picked on by older brother. The Korvers explained this was not the dynamic in the Korver family. The Korver brothers told ESPN that Kyle never was one to pick on his younger brothers. Instead, they spoke about their epic two-on-two basketball games where Kirk often teamed up with Kyle since he was the youngest.
Kyle delivered a powerful eulogy at Kirk’s funeral, and tried to encourage his parents noting that the four brothers will always be together in spirit.
“You two are so good,” Kyle noted in the eulogy (via the Des Moines Register). “And you have thrown the seed and you have lived out a faith that’s caught and not taught in this church for 25 years. Harvest has come, and much more is coming. … We are grateful for you. Kirk is grateful for you. … But it’s going to be different. There is a before and an after, there is. But you will always have four sons. You will always have four.”
3. Kirk’s Obituary Described His Life as Being “Marked by a Smile, Words of Welcome, Kindness, a Generosity of Spirit, a Gentle Christ-Honoring Faith, Loyalty & Compassion”
The Garden Chapel provided a short obituary for Kirk, and described how loved ones will remember his life.
Kirk’s life is marked by a smile, words of welcome, kindness, a generosity of spirit, a gentle Christ-honoring faith, loyalty and compassion. The Well Resource Center was chosen as the option for memorial gifts because The Well’s mission reminds us of Kirk.
Kyle received an outpouring of supports from players across the NBA. LeBron James offered public encouragement noting Kyle should take all the time he needed.
“I have sympathy for my brother, for his family,” James told the Des Moines Register. “It’s tragic for him to lose a little brother in the fashion it happened. My prayers go out to all the family and everyone who has anything to do with his family.
4. Kyle & His Family Have Leaned on Their Christian Faith During the Tragedy
Kirk’s father, Kevin Korver, is the executive pastor at Third Church located in Pella, Iowa. The church’s website describes Kevin’s ministry role.
Pastor Kevin’s role as Senior Pastor is to develop the church vision, provide organizational and ministry oversight and serve as primary preacher/teacher while serving on the Executive Team and partner with the Executive Board.
According to the Des Moines Register, Kevin delivered the sermon during Kirk’s funeral, and leaned on Psalm 46 and John 14 as the primary texts.
“Jesus has made a way,” Kevin said in the sermon per the Des Moines Register. “Jesus is the way. He is the truth.And our son is more alive right now than he’s ever been in 27 years.”
Kyle has been outspoken about his faith throughout his NBA career, using it as a backbone to be part of organizations such as the End It Movement which raises awareness for human trafficking. Kyle spoke about the importance of the family’s faith during Kirk’s funeral.
“We say in our family all the time: ‘How do you make it without Jesus?’” Kyle noted during his eulogy (via Des Moines Register). “How do you make it without the hope that he gives? How do you make it without faith?’ Faith is real. We have faith. Kirk had faith.”
5. Kirk Played College Basketball at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Where He Graduated With Honors in 2014
Since the Korver brothers early days growing up, basketball has been a way to bring the family together. According to ESPN, Kevin and Laine took out a $4,000 loan to build a concrete basketball court at their home, with $2,000 going to build the court, and the other $2,000 was donated to people in need. It was money well-spent as all four of their children earned college scholarships to play basketball.
Kirk completed the streak by playing four years at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Kirk was a 6’7″ forward who averaged 5.3 points and 2.4 rebounds. He started 50 games, and played in 113 games in his four seasons at UMKC. According to the Des Moines Register, Kirk averaged 14.4 points and 9.2 rebounds at Pella High School, making the third-team all-state team during his senior year.
According to ESPN, all four brothers ranked in the top 10 in both all-time scoring and rebounding at Pella High School. Kyle and Kaleb went on to play at Creighton, while Klayton played at Drake.
“We all shot so many baskets on that hoop,” Kyle told ESPN. “My parents didn’t pay for college because we all got scholarships. It was a good investment, and it’s a good lesson.”
Source: Heavy Sports