NBA on TNT anchor Ernie Johnson announced on social media on Friday night that his 33-year-old son, Michael, had died.
Michael suffered from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which causes severe respiratory issues.
Johnson, who hosts “NBA on TNT” with Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley, shares the following note on Twitter.
In addition, Turner Sports releases a statement regarding Michael’s death.
“We are heartbroken over the passing of Cherly and Ernie’s beloved son, Michael, a true hero who uplifted and brought joy to everyone he touched,” the statement reads. “The family’s love, faith and commitment to one another will forever be an inspiration to us. Our deepest condolences are with Cheryl, Ernie, and their family, friends, and loved ones as we mourn with them.”
Back in 2020, according to an article from The Sporting News, Ernie Johnson Jr. had plans to work “The Match 2,” a golf television event.
The broadcaster was concerned that covering it could possibly lead him to bring COVID-19 to their home. That would threaten Michael’s life.
Therefore, Ernie Johnson chose not to attend the event.
“I would have loved to have been part of the broadcast team down there at Medalist today,” Johnson said. “But I have a 31-year-old son Michael, and for the last nine years, every breath he’s taken has been with the aid of a ventilator. He gets lung infections all the time. I just didn’t think it was worth the risk of bringing in an unseen foe into our house.”
An article from the Muscular Dystrophy Association states that “Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness due to the alterations of a protein called dystrophin that helps keep muscle cells intact.”
In conclusion, the article goes on to say that “DMD is one of four conditions known as dystrophinopathies.” As a result, Michael suffered from this for most of his life.