Rickey Smiley Shares What He Believes Caused His Son Brandon’s Death

Rickey Smiley and his son Brandon. (Credit: Today Show/Family Photo)

Rickey Smiley has done his first interview since his son, Brandon Smiley, died at the age of 32 in January.

The Rickey Smiley Morning Show host sat down with Craig Melvin on Thursday, March 2, during the 3rd hour of Today. Smiley revealed his son died of a suspected overdose after years of substance abuse.

“Yeah, he was struggling with that,” Smiley responded when asked if Brandon had a history of drug use.

“His mother and I made several attempts to try and send him to get the help that he needed, send him to rehab,” he continued. “And we thought that he was doing better. He had just joined a church and had just gotten baptized, probably a month before he passed away.”

Smiley, 54, admitted Brandon’s official cause of death has not yet been released.

“We haven’t gotten a toxicology report yet,” Smiley said. “But this is just what we are speculating, according to his girlfriend who found him unresponsive.”

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On Jan. 29, Smiley took to Instagram to share that his son had died that morning in Birmingham, Alabama. As he fought back tears in the Instagram video, Smiley asked his followers to pray for Brandon’s mother and siblings.

The comedian told Melvin that he and Brandon’s mother had many conversations with their son, but were unable to get through to him.

Smiley said he wanted to speak with Today, to share an important message with parents.

“I think the parents are having the conversation. The problem is getting the kids to listen to what the parents are saying,” he said. “Some of [the conversations] are uncomfortable and we just assume that if you’re in a good school district, or you’re in a gated community, or everything is going good, that these kids are not doing drugs.”

Smiley noted that it doesn’t matter where you live to be affected by drugs.

“You don’t have to be in the ‘hood, to succumb to drug abuse,” he continued.

The father of four described his son as “fun, always funny… he was a great kid.”

The Baggage Claim star said he is leaning on his faith to push through the pain of his loss.

“I still have to do my morning show,” he said. “I still have to press my way through, pray my way through. Lean on my spirituality.”

Watch thr interview below: