Comedian Rickey Smiley announced Sunday that his oldest son Brandon Smiley has died, in a raw message shared via social media channels.
In a brief video shared on Instagram and YouTube, Smiley said that he was on his way “to get to the airport to get to Birmingham” after getting the bad news Sunday morning. Smiley, a Birmingham native, did not address the specifics of his son’s death.
“I just want everybody to pray for me, pray for our family. My son Brandon Smiley has passed away this morning. I’m about to go get on a flight and try to get to Birmingham … Lord have mercy, Jesus,” he said.
He asked for prayers for family members, Brandon’s mother and siblings.
“I hate to announce this, I just want to give it to you before you hear it in the streets,” he said.
“I just don’t know what to do, I can’t think,” said Smiley, who went on to refer to the death of his father. “Now I see what my grandaddy went through and why the way he felt the way he felt,” he said.
Brandon Smiley, who had worked as a comedian and actor, reportedly was 32.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin extended his condolences via Twitter.
“I’m devastated to hear that my friend @RickeySmiley has lost his son Brandon,” Woodfin said in a Tweet. “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.”