Four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal lost his younger sister, Ayesha Harrison-Jex, to cancer in 2019. He revealed that the deaths of his sister and ex-teammate Kobe Bryant continue to haunt him to this day.  

“I don’t go to bed till 5:00am… Ever since Kobe [Bryant] and my sister died I can’t sleep,” he said while appearing on the HBO documentary about his life, titled ‘SHAQ’.

Who was Ayesha Harrison-Jex?

Ayesha Harrison-Jex was one Shaquille O’Neal’s three siblings. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Florida A&M University. She had a son named Bryce.

Ayesha Harrison-Jex died at the age of 40 in 2019 and was laid to rest in a military cemetery. She was buried next to O’Neal’s stepfather, Sgt. Phillip Harrison.

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Shaquille O’Neal’s colleagues announced her death on an episode of TNT’s Inside the NBA.

“We have to tell you why you’re not seeing Shaquille O’Neal here on the set tonight. 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,” his co-host Ernie Johnson said.

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

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His other co-hosts, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith,  also sent their condolences to his family.

Reacting to the same, O’Neal tweeted, “Thanks for the condolences and the love. If I had older brothers, it would be you 3. Love y’all.”