The Sacramento Kings have officially voided their contract with free agent Chuck Hayes.

The former Modesto Christian High School stand-out was slated to anchor the Kings' defense. He's a player who's been known for his heart throughout his career, so it's disorientatingly ironic that his heart will now keep him off the court.

Just listen to Kings Coach Paul Westphal trying to come to grips,

"It's... it just make you ask a lot of cosmic questions. He's one guy that gave everything he had, every second," Westphal said.

Last week, the team said a recent stress echo test on Hayes’ heart revealed an abnormality.

At the time they said the situation required further testing.

Monday morning, Team President Geoff Petrie released a statement saying, “This morning, in one of the most heartbreaking moments of my professional or personal life, Chuck Hayes was notified that he failed his physical exam with the Sacramento Kings. Subsequent to that, the contract signed on December 9th has been voided.”

Hayes signed a four-year, $21+ million contract with the Kings on December 9th. Before that he played on the Houston Rockets.

But even 20 years later, memories of players like Hank Gathers - the Loyoal Marymount star who died suddenly after a slam dunk - demand that a heart condition be treated with extreme caution.

"We've had enough kids drop dead on basketball courts that in profession atheletics, and even at the level of college, you're getting EKG's and you're doing basic screening," said Dr. David Roberts, Medical Director of Interventional Cardiology at Sutter Hospital.

The problem is typically thickening of the heart walls. That chokes off blood supply.

Roberts says that a person can be born with that heart condition, and that it can get progressively worse over the course of years. That may be why Hayes' problems never showed-up in the past. And Roberts says it's a good arguement for everyone to get regular check-ups.

But as for Hayes, the trick may be learning that the end of his career is not the end of his life.

"there's no price tag on a human life. So when you talk about 20 million dollars... if we can help him live to a ripe-old-age, that's what's important," Roberts said.

Hayes, of course, can get a second opinion and likely will. If the problem truly is a thickening of the heart wall, treatment options include medicine and surgery.