Former Jets wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson has announced that his daughter Maia has died at age 25.
“Maia, as my first born child, has been the joy of my, and her Mother Shikiri’s, life,” Johnson, 48, wrote on Twitter. “She came into our lives just as we were both coming of age as adults and has been a constant beloved presence for both of us. We are heartbroken and devastated by her loss.”
Maia is Johnson’s first child with ex-wife Shikiri Hightower. They were married from 1998-2002, and also share son Keyshawn Jr. Johnson has three other children — London, Shyla and Vance with his current wife, Jennifer Conrad, per TMZ.
“Shikiri, Maia’s siblings, our family, and me appreciate your thoughts and prayers at this difficult time,” Johnson’s statement continued. He did not reveal a cause of death.
Johnson played 11 seasons in the NFL before retiring in 2007. He currently serves as an NFL analyst on ESPN’s NFL Live and co-hosts ESPN Radio’s weekday morning show, Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin with Jay Williams and Zubin Mehenti.
Following the announcement about his daughter’s passing, sports fans and several of Johnson’s colleagues hit up social media to share their condolences.
ESPN said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with Keyshawn and his family as they deal with this unthinkable tragedy. He has the full support of his ESPN family.”
Johnson’s ESPN colleague Louis Riddick also tweeted: “I am so very sorry Keshawn,” he wrote. “That is devastating and heartbreaking to hear. From my family to yours…our deepest and most sincere condolences brother.”
One Twitter user responded to the tragic news with, “I know your pain. My wife and I just buried our daughter Keli the day after Christmas at the age of 26. A piece of my heart has been ripped out. I will never be the same person. However Jesus Christ defeated death and those that believe in Him will live forever. Praying.”
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Another added “No father should have to bury their child and my heart hurts for you and her mother.”
A third wrote, “Oh man, that’s heavy, but you don’t have to carry it alone. We might be strangers, but we’re all here for you. I’m sorry for your loss, I can’t imagine the pain of losing a child.”
Johnson was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 NFL draft, selected by the New York Jets. He also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, and the Carolina Panthers.
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