Shaquille O’Neal just experienced a terrible loss. The NBA all-star is grieving the loss of his sister, Ayesha Harrison-Jex, who died after a three-year battle with cancer. Harrison-Jex was only 40-years-old.

O’Neal wasn’t present for TNT’s Inside the NBA Thursday night and his co-host Ernie Johnson explained why he was missing.

 

“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.”

Co-host Charles Barkley added that Shaq and his mother were there in his time of need when his mother died and sent his sincere condolences.

“I want to just give a special shout-out to his mom, Miss Lucille, who was best friends with my mom,” Barkley said. “When my mom passed away, she came and spent her last few days with my mom. So I just want to give Miss Lucille a hug and tell her I love her. What she did for my mom at the end … I can never thank them enough, and I feel for her and Shaquille. And the rest of the family also.”

O’Neal didn’t know his biological father and was raised by his stepfather, Sgt. Philip A. Harrison, who is Harrison-Jex’s father.

Harrison-Jex will be laid to rest in a military cemetery next to her father, who preceded her in death in 2013. She leaves behind her son, Bryce.

PHOTO: PR Photos

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