Comedian and radio host Rickey Smiley got emotional while giving his first TV interview since the death of his son, Brandon, aged just 32.
Speaking on the US Today Show‘s news program 3rd Hour, the 54-year-old held back tears as he recalled the phone call no parent ever wants to get – that his beloved son had passed away.
“I was in Dallas in my apartment getting ready to watch the playoff and his girlfriend called,” Smiley shared. “She said that, in her words, that he had OD’d.”
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The Rickey Smiley Morning Show host then rushed to get on a flight to Alabama to be with his son, Smiley received a second phone call from Brandon’s younger sister, Taylor.
“I got a phone call on my way out the door … that he had passed. She was crying. And uh, yeah,” he recalled, holding back tears.
Brandon was found unresponsive by his girlfriend inside his Birmingham home on January 29. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead less than an hour later.
Smiley said the family has yet to receive a toxicology report from the coroner, therefore an official cause of death is pending, however foul play or trauma have so far been ruled out by authorities.
“This is just what we’re speculating according to his girlfriend, who found him unresponsive,” Smiley said of the girlfriend’s claims Brandon overdosed.
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“He was struggling with that,” Smiley revealed of Brandon history of drug use. “His mother and I made several attempts to try to send him to get the help that he needed –send him to rehab. We thought that he as doing better – he had just joined the church and he had just gotten baptised again probably a month before he passed away. He used, and it killed him.”
Smiley said that while he was “shocked” by his son’s death, he was “not surprised”.
“Deep inside, I was kind of prepared for it, but at the same time when it happens you can never be prepared because that’s your child,” he said.
If you, or someone you know would like to talk to someone confidentially about addiction, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit Reach Out. In an emergency, call 000.