Lifestyle & Human Interest

Shaquille O'Neal's Sister, Ayesha Harrison-Jex, Dies at Age 40


In 2016, Shaquille O’Neal’s sister Ayesha Harrison-Jex was diagnosed with cancer. She’s been battling it ever since, but her brave fight ended on Thursday, Oct. 24, and O’Neal has gone to be with family during this time.

Harrison-Jex was only 40 years old. She obtained both bachelor’s and master’s degrees through Florida A&M University, and she is survived by her son, Bryce, according to Vibe.

The hosts of TNT’s “Inside the NBA” tweeted a segment of their show on Thursday, speaking warmly of O’Neal and his family and extending their condolences.

“We have to tell you why you’re not seeing Shaquille O’Neal here on the set tonight,” host Ernie Johnson said. “Basically the ‘Big Fella,’ who I’ve described as ‘the biggest kid in the world,’ his heart is breaking tonight. He said his world revolves around his brother and two sisters. And he lost one of his sisters this morning.”

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“I’m trying to put into words the way Shaquille has reacted to this, and he is struggling,” Johnson said. “And when he struggles, we struggle with him because he’s one of our brothers.”

“He’s also the big family guy,” Kenny Smith added. “We always see his kids, his family always around.”

“One of the most difficult things about being close to someone and working with them this many years — you get to know them and their family and their friends, so you hurt so much more just as much as you have the pain, just as much as you have the joy … That’s part of being a family, experiencing the joy and the pain.”

Shaq’s mother got some recognition, too, for the kindness she’d shown to “Inside the NBA” analyst Charles Barkley’s own mother.

“I want to just give a special shout-out to his mom, Miss Lucille, who was best friends with my mom,” Charles Barkley said. “When my mom passed away, she came and spent her last few days with my mom.”

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“So I just want to give Miss Lucille a hug and tell her I love her. What she did for my mom at the end … I can never thank them enough, and I feel for her and Shaquille. And the rest of the family also.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver added his own thoughts to the session, also noting that he’d met Harrison-Jex on several occasions.

“We always talk about the NBA as a family and it’s times like this where we’re together and we’ve all known Shaq’s mom Lucille since he came into the league and I met his sister many times,” Silver said. “So from everyone at the league, but me personally, my condolences to Shaq … to his family.”

While Shaq was obviously not on the show, he saw the clip and responded to it on Twitter.

“Thanks for the condolences and the love,” he wrote. “If I had older brothers, it would be you 3. Love y’all and love you more Candice.”

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