Ayesha Harrison-Jex, the sister of Basketball Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal, has died after a battle with cancer. She was 40.
O’Neal, a studio analyst for TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” did not appear on Thursday’s broadcast. Hosts Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith were among those who offered their condolences.
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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also sent his condolences to the former Los Angeles Lakers great and his family. He said, “it’s times like this when we’re all together.”
During the broadcast, Johnson explained how much O’Neal loved his family.
“I’m trying to put into words the way Shaquille has reacted to this, and he is struggling,” he said. “And when he struggles, we struggle with him because he’s one of our brothers.”
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Harrison-Jex was diagnosed with cancer three years ago.
She was a mother and graduated from Florida A&M University with a bachelor’s and masters’ degree.
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According to Vibe, she will be laid to rest in a military ceremony and will be buried next to O’Neal’s stepfather Sgt. Phillip Harrison.