Over the weekend, actor, director and martial artist Michael Jai White (Spawn, Black Dynamite, Arrow) confirmed his eldest son had died of COVID-19 at the age of 38. In an interview with VLAD TV, the 53-year-old actor revealed that his son—who was a father of 6—died “a few months ago,” following a lengthy stay at the hospital.
White further confirmed that his son had not been vaccinated for the virus. “Ultimately, when he got sick and went to the hospital, COVID was waiting for him...That was the knockout blow,” he told VLAD.
In the interview, White also noted that he and his son actually “grew up at the same time” as the actor was only 15 years old when his son was born. White is the father to five other children and also has stepchildren via his wife Gillian Iliana Waters, whom he married in July 2015; the couple has appeared on OWN’s docuseries Black Love. White confirmed in a previous interview that he became a great-grandfather after his grandson had a child at the age of 19.
“Unfortunately, he was still kinda out there in the streets hustling, wasn’t doing well, started getting on substances,” White said. “He’d come out, go back in, all that type of stuff.” Reportedly, the previous abuse caused White son’s system to be “compromised.”
In a recent interview with Screen Rant, White discussed how he relates to his Arrow character Bronze Tiger, who he reprises in the DC animated film, Batman: Soul of the Dragon. “I just think of him as the earlier version of myself, when you’re kind of ruled by your anger and your sense of the ills of society,” he said. “As I grew and matured, I understood that there’s a reason for this. And if you concern yourself with the reason, you’re usually gonna find a logical reason for all your adversity. Once you have that reason, you’re no longer angry about it because you understand it.”
The Root sends our thoughts and condolences to Michael Jai White and his family. You can view footage from White’s interview regarding his late son below: