Moni Fanan, who served as Maccabi Tel Aviv's vice chairman and team manager for 16 years, was found dead in his Ramat Aviv home late Monday morning, after hanging himself. A Magen David Adom team alerted to the scene attempted to resuscitate the 63-year-old man, but was forced to pronounce him dead. Fanan is survived by a wife and three children.
Sharon, Fanan's widow, said later on Monday that she did not know what had caused him to commit suicide. "I don't know, and I have many questions," she told Channel 2.
Fanan's untimely death came as a shock to sports fans and the general Israeli public, which came to recognize the energetic man, who was a permanent fixture around Maccabi Tel Aviv's bench until retiring from the basketball team's management last year.
Many speculations were voiced on Monday concerning the motivation for Fanan's suicide, some saying he had felt estranged from the team and shunned by Israeli basketball, others suggesting he had been in debt.
Fanan, who started as a fan before joining the club's staff in 1992, retired after becoming dissatisfied with his diminishing influence over the happenings at Maccabi.
"The style of work at Maccabi in recent years didn't suit me and therefore the differences between myself and the other board members have continually grown," said an emotional Fanan in a July 2008 press conference. "I mulled over this decision before coming to the conclusion that our differences can't be bridged. I have, therefore, come to a heavy hearted decision to leave."
Former Maccabi captain Gur Shelef replaced Fanan in his managerial position, and some voices have cautiously linked Monday's otherwise inexplicable tragedy to the void created in Fanan's life after he quit the club, in which he played a central role. Fanan often referred to the players as his children, and was also in charge of the team's foreign players.
Allon Sinai contributed to this report.