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Comedian Rickey Smiley mourns loss of son: ‘Life comes with a whole bunch of twists’

A bald man with a beard smiles while wearing sunglasses and a suit.
“The Rickey Smiley Morning Show” host Rickey Smiley shared Sunday that his son Brandon had died.
(Paras Griffin / Getty Images)
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Comedian and radio-show host Rickey Smiley is mourning the loss of his son Brandon Jamaad Smiley.

“I lost my oldest son #BrandonSmiley this morning. I’m okay, but please pray for my son’s mother Brenda, his siblings and his daughter Storm,” the “Rickey Smiley Morning Show” host said Sunday across his social media platforms.

Smiley, 54, elaborated on the “bad news” in an emotional video showing him in Dallas as he readied to catch a flight to his hometown of Birmingham, Ala., after learning of his son’s death.

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Brandon Smiley was 32, according to local outlet AL.com. He was found unresponsive inside his residence on Sunday at around 10 a.m. by a friend, the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office told the site. He was taken to UAB Hospital where he was pronounced dead less than an hour later.

Chief Deputy Coroner Bill Yates told AL.com that an autopsy performed early Monday found no evidence of trauma or foul play and that the cause of death is pending additional lab studies. Birmingham police are said to be investigating.

Representatives for Smiley on Monday declined to comment further when reached by The Times.

“I hate to announce this. I just want to give it to you before you hear it in the streets. ... I’m OK,” Smiley said in his Sunday video, adding, “Life comes with a whole bunch of twists and turns. I don’t care where you go or what. I don’t know what to do. I can’t think. ... I just can’t think straight. Y’all be blessed and I’m sorry to announce this to y’all. Just pray.”

The “Friday After Next” and “Baggage Claim” actor said in the video that he now understands why his grandfather “felt the way he felt” when his own father died: “Somehow here I am going through the same thing my grandparents went through, so just pray for our family.”

The comic posted another video a few hours later showing Brandon performing a stand-up set at the Birmingham comedy club StarDome three years prior. Brandon was a comedian and actor, AL.com reported.

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Smiley’s followers and celebrity fans, including Taraji P. Henson, Niecy Nash, Kandi Burruss and Mike Epps, were among the thousands who shared their condolences with the comedian in the comments sections of his posts on Instagram and TikTok.

“I’m devastated to hear that my friend @RickeySmiley has lost his son Brandon,” tweeted Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin. “Rickey has given so much to our city; this is the time when we need to give back to him. Join me in wrapping our arms around him & his family during this difficult time. We’re praying for you, Rickey.”

Smiley, whose syndicated radio show airs in more than 60 cities across the country, also co-hosts “Dish Nation” and chronicled his professional and family life in the TV One reality series “Rickey Smiley for Real.”

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