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Friday, August 16, 2002
Payne dies of Eastern equine encephalitis
Associated Press

DUNNELLON, Fla., -- Former Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Payne died after a yearlong battle with Eastern equine encephalitis. He was 40.

Payne died Aug. 4 at his home from complications of the rare virus, contracted from mosquito bites. The brain-swelling disease has been found in horses and birds throughout Florida, but is rare in humans.

Payne, a former high school baseball coach, was hospitalized on Aug. 5, 2001. Officials said he contracted the disease while working in his yard.

He had been living with his family for seven months, but was confined to a wheelchair and had lost the ability to speak.

Payne pitched in three games -- starting one -- for Atlanta in 1984. He lost his only decision while posting a 6.36 ERA.

Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday.

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