Hunter Kelly, Son of Jim Kelly, Dies at Age 8

Hunter Kelly, son of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, has died at the age of 8 from a disease he was born with.

Jim Kelly’s son, Hunter, dies (Newsday – AP)

Hunter Kelly, whose battle with a fatal nervous system disease inspired his Hall of Fame quarterback father Jim Kelly’s charitable works, died Friday morning. He was 8.

“Our prayers go to the family and kids,” Jim Kelly’s brother, Dan, told The Associated Press.

Hunter’s Hope Foundation spokesman John Dudek said Hunter died at the Kelly’s home in Orchard Park, N.Y. Dudek said Hunter had been having trouble breathing, possibly the result of the humidity and high temperatures that have hovered in the 90s this week. “He has been struggling for a while,” Dudek said. “They did note that he had a high temperature yesterday … and apparently, he had stopped breathing.” Dudek said the family called 911.

The foundation is named after Hunter, and was established in 1997 by Jim Kelly and his wife Jill. It has raised more than $6 million and awarded more than $3.8 million to leukodystrophy and other neurological disease-related research.

Born in 1997, Hunter Kelly was given no more than three years to live after being diagnosed with Krabbe disease, an inherited degenerative disorder of the central and peripheral nervous systems. The disease hinders development of the myelin sheath, a fatty covering that protects the brain’s nerve fibers. The disease has no known cure.

Jim Kelly, who led the Bills to an unprecedented four AFC titles in the early 1990s, had credited his son for serving as his inspiration after he retired from football following the 1996 season. “He’ll never be able to do what daddy did,” Kelly said last year. “But he’s going to do greater things. He’s going to make a difference in kids’ lives. He already has.”

We all knew this was coming, but it’s still quite sad.

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James Joyner
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  1. Bithead says:

    Word from the Buffalo area stations is that they’re having a memorial service this tuesday in Hamburg, NY.