Nick Gilbert, the son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, has died at the age of 26. Nick was born with a rare genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis, which causes tumors to form on nerve tissue. Despite his health challenges, Nick had a positive outlook on life and became a beloved figure in the Cleveland sports community.
Nick rose to fame in 2011 when he represented the Cavaliers at the NBA draft lottery and famously wore a bowtie and thick-rimmed glasses. The Cavaliers won the lottery that year and went on to select superstar Kyrie Irving with the first overall pick.
In addition to his love for basketball, Nick was an avid fan of baseball and was a fixture at Cleveland Indians games. He even threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Game 4 of the 2016 World Series, which the Indians hosted.
Dan Gilbert released a statement expressing his grief over the loss of his son, saying, “Nick was a bright light in this world who inspired so many people with his courage and positivity. He touched so many people beyond our family and will be missed terribly.”
The NBA community also expressed their condolences, with Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love tweeting, “Nick will be forever missed by us all. His positivity and energy are truly infectious.” The NBA itself also released a statement, saying, “We mourn the loss of Nick Gilbert and express our deepest condolences to the Gilbert family and the entire Cavaliers organization.”