Mike Tyson grew up in Brooklyn, New York with two siblings: an older brother, Rodney, and an older sister, Denise. The future heavyweight champion’s mother, Lorna Smith, raised her kids as a single mom and struggled to make ends meet.
Of his brother, who is five years his senior and grew up to become a physician’s assistant in a Los Angeles County trauma center, Tyson once revealed he was in awe of his eldest sibling.
“We’re so different it’s not even funny,” Tyson said, per The Sun-Sentinel. “[Rodney] is a beautiful, brilliant, strange guy. I look at him like a god. I scramble the brains, and he fixes them.”
But Tyson would not get to see his sister live out her dreams, as she died at a young age just after he suffered a huge upset in his boxing career.
Mike Tyson’s Sister Denise Died at Age 24 in 1990
In February 1990, Tyson received a devastating personal blow. Weeks after losing the world heavyweight title to Buster Douglas, Tyson lost his only sister. Denise Anderson died of an apparent heart attack at her Queens-area residence on February 21, 1990. She was just 24 years old at the time of her passing, according to the New York Times.
Tyson’s sister was found unconscious by her husband at 8:40 a.m. in their home in St. Albans. Anderson was reported “dead on arrival of possible cardiac arrest” and her death was not considered “suspicious,” per Tampa Bay.com. The boxer’s late sister weighed around 400 pounds and suffered from diabetes and asthma, which was said to have contributed to her sudden death at such a young age.
According to Find a Grave, Tyson’s sister is buried at Rosedale and Rosehill Cemetery in Linden, New Jersey.
Mike Tyson Has Lost Multiple Loved Ones Prematurely
Tyson has experienced much loss throughout his life. His father, Jimmy Kirkpatrick, abandoned the family when he was two years old. Tyson’s mother, Lorna Smith Tyson, died in 1982 when the future fighter was just 16 years old, according to The Bleacher Report. After losing his sister Denise when he was in his early 20s, a spokesman said Tyson was “very, very dejected” as he processed her death.
In 2009, Tyson suffered more tragedy when his four-year-old daughter, Exodus, died following a tragic accident with a treadmill cord, as reported by ABC News. The toddler, who was Tyson’s daughter with his ex-girlfriend Sol Xochitl, was found by her seven-year-old brother, Miguel.
Tyson later appeared in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in which he admitted he didn’t want to know all of the details of his daughter’s tragic accident. He said he did not place blame on the little girl’s mother, who had been at home at the time of the accident.
“There was no animosity,” Tyson said, per Metro. “ There was no anger towards anybody. I don’t know how she died and I don’t want to know. If I know somebody’s to blame for it, there will be a problem.”
Tyson admitted he turned to cocaine to numb his grief, and just a week after Exodus’ death he married his current wife, Lakiha Spicer, per ShowBiz Cheat Sheet.