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Shaquille O’Neal, Who Loses Sleep Over Kobe Bryant and His Sister’s Demise, Penned Down a 6 Word Message to Her in Abu Dhabi

Published 12/28/2022, 2:38 PM EST

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Shaquille O’Neal had one of the worst times of his life when he lost two people very close to him within three months. When the whole world mourned the loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter in early 2020, Shaq had already lost his sister to cancer. The Big Diesel recently revealed that he struggled to cope with the losses. Furthermore, in an interview in Abu Dhabi a while ago, the Los Angeles Lakers legend had shared a heartfelt message for his late sister.

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Ayesha Harrison-Jex, the younger sister of Shaq battled cancer for three years until she passed away on October 25, 2019.

Shaquille O’Neal wrote a six-word letter to his sister


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Shaquille O’Neal had opened up about his sister’s loss in an interview with Anas Bukhash a couple of months ago during his visit to Abu Dhabi. When Bukhash asked Shaq what he would write to Ayesha if he can write an email to her. Dr.Shaq emotionally replied to him with just six words.

He just said, “I love you, and thank you.” The host then asked the Big Aristotle why he wants to thank her. Shaq replied, “For being my great little sister, never bothered me.


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The Big Diesel has discussed his time growing up with his younger sister in his book, Shaq talks back. Further in the interview, he said, “She was married, she had a son, she had two degrees, she worked, she was doing her own thing, and she never bothered.” Shaq harped on the importance of letting your closed ones know that you love them through little, seemingly unimportant gestures. Because you never know when they will be gone.

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Dr.Shaq had a tough time coping with the loss, as he struggled to sleep at night. In a recent documentary for HBO, Shaq revealed that he struggled with insomnia and the two personal losses made it even harder for the big man to sleep at night.

The 4x NBA Champion said, “I don’t go to bed till 5 AM… Ever since Kobe [Bryant] and my sister died I can’t sleep.” Shaq was broken because he didn’t expect either of the demises. Ayesha battled cancer twice before so he expected her to beat it this time too. And Kobe’s accident came in as a shocker for everyone, including Shaq.


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Written by:

Shahul Hameed


One take at a time

Shahul Hameed is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He holds a Master's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and has previously worked as a contributor at an online news site. Shahul has always shared a keen interest in journalism, starting off as a reporter for his college news journal.
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Edited by:

Satagni Sikder