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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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking