With a warning and a testimonial to his faith, Rickey Smiley is speaking out about his son’s death. Comedian and talk show host Tavis Smiley sat down with “Today” host Craig Melvin to discuss the end of his son Brandon in January, which Smiley attributes to drug use.
On January 29, Smiley posted a video to Instagram in which he announced the death of his kid. On Thursday, Smiley talked about the day he discovered his son had died. Smiley explained that he learned of the news while on his way out the door from Brandon’s younger sister in Georgia.
Despite Smiley and Brandon’s mother “making multiple attempts to try and send him to seek the care he needed in rehab,” Brandon continued to “struggle with” substance misuse, according to Smiley.
“We thought that he was doing better. He had just joined the church, he had just gotten baptized, again, probably a month before he passed away,” Smiley said. “He used and it killed him.”
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In January, when Smiley first broke the news, he did not say how old his kid was or what caused his death. Despite the fact that the toxicology report is not yet definitive, the comedian on the NBC morning news program indicated that the family “speculates” that drug use was the cause of death.
“We just assume that if you’re in a good school district, or you’re in a gated community or that everything is going good, that these kids are not doing drugs,” Smiley told Melvin. “You don’t have to be in the hood to succumb to drug abuse.”
Smiley described his reaction to the news as “shocked, but not surprised” and he said he is relying on his faith to help him cope with the loss.
“When it happens you can never be prepared, because that’s your child,” Smiley said. “If anything makes me cry, it’s God’s goodness to be able to get out of the bed, to be able to do my morning show, to be able to protect the rest of my kids.”
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