NEW YORK -- A popular Brooklyn Nets fan is on life support after he jumped out of a second-story window at his father's house in Flushing, Queens, late Saturday night.
Jeffrey Gamblero, who was recently in the news after being taken out of Madison Square Garden by security without his prosthetic leg, sustained severe brain damage and a fractured spinal cord as a result of the fall, according to his fiancee, Kristi Evans.
Gamblero, who's real name is Jeffrey Vanchiro, was in the intensive care unit Sunday on a ventilator at New York Hospital Queens.
Evans said she believes the Dec. 2 incident during a Nets-Knicks game at MSG changed Gamblero for the worse.
"After that, he was a completely different person," Evans said Sunday afternoon at the hospital. She was composed but often broke down into tears. "He was paranoid. He was erratic. He was frightened. He was horrified. He was a bit delusional. And 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 to 15 minutes before he would wake up screaming, covered in sweat."
Vanchiro, 38, became known to Nets fans for wearing neon T-shirts under a personalized white No. 44 home jersey and having his dance moves displayed on the Barclays Center video screens.
Three days after the incident, Vanchiro remained distraught and said he wasn't feeling like himself. He thought he'd need until the All-Star break to return to normal. But Friday night in Brooklyn, Vanchiro was shown on the jumbotron dancing and enjoying himself. He later went to his fiancee's nightclub, but something wasn't right. Still, Vanchiro danced a lot, and Evans figured it would relieve a lot of his stress.
The next day, Vanchiro went to a friend's house, then told Evans he was going to stay with his father, Sylvester, that night. Evans told him she thought it would be a good idea, so Vanchiro could get some peace of mind. But an hour-and-a-half after Vanchiro arrived, Evans got a call from Sylvester saying Vanchiro had jumped out of a window.
"He's never, ever exhibited any suicidal tendencies," Evans said. "He jumped out of the bed, ran down the hallway ... and then threw himself out of a window headfirst and landed on his head."
Vanchiro underwent brain surgery at the hospital and was breathing on his own initially, but his condition worsened significantly Sunday morning, and his brain stopped functioning, Evans said.
Several family members were at the hospital with Vanchiro, and Evans estimated 50 people came to visit him. At one point, security was limiting his visitors to two at a time because so many people were there.
Vanchiro grew up in Queens and Brooklyn. A fan of both the Knicks and the Nets, he idolized Nets point guard Kenny Anderson growing up. He wanted to be a professional basketball player but had to settle for being a super fan instead. It was the next best thing. Despite losing a leg in an accident, he still loved playing sports.
Evans described in detail the events that unfolded at MSG, which quickly went viral. Gamblero was asked by security to quiet down, but Evans said he wasn't cursing or offending anyone. Gamblero politely refused, and security told him he had to leave, so Gamblero took off his prosthetic leg as a form of peaceful protest. "I'm not going anywhere," he said. "I paid a lot of money for these seats. I'm a fan, and I don't deserve to be kicked out."
Security then picked up Gamblero and removed him from the arena. Video shows him being dropped, which, according to Evans, caused his back to twist and his head to bump against the stairs several times. Gamblero was then taken into the back of MSG, where he "was so traumatized and bawling hysterically."
"He didn't have his leg either," Evans said. "Then [Nets executive] Irina [Pavlova] came over and consoled him there, and then he went to the hospital."
Gamblero was diagnosed with minor head injuries and a lower back sprain, according to Evans.
After the incident, Madison Square Garden released a statement through a Knicks spokesperson: "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."
Vanchiro found success playing professional poker and also creating graffiti art in the city. But perhaps most of all, he loved being a fan of the Nets.
"He's a brilliant genius," Evans said. "He's so passionate and loving, the most positive person I've ever met. All he wanted to do in life was achieve world peace. His goal was to use his form of popularity to spread love, and his ultimate goal was world peace. He talked about it all the time. It was so beautiful. And he wanted to bring the teams together.
"That's why he would cheer for both teams, because he was like, 'It doesn't have to be that way,'" Evans added. "My dad raised me the same way. We used to go to Knicks games, but he also took me to Nets games, too. So when I met Jeffrey, it was like the same person. It was just love all around, and he was just the most beautiful spirit anyone could ever imagine. He had so much more to give us. We just have to keep his memory going."