Dwight Howard revealed that the mother of his 6-year-old son passed away just over a month ago after suffering a seizure.
According to ESPN, Melissa Rios had an epileptic seizure at her home in Calabasas, California, on March 27 which resulted in her death. The Los Angeles Laker shared the news of Rios’ passing during a video conference call on Friday.
“I’ve had some things happen in my personal life that has been difficult to really handle,” Howard said during the call. “My son’s mom, she had passed away a month and a half ago and it’s extremely difficult for me to try to understand how to talk to my son, who’s 6 years old, just about the whole situation.”
Howard and Rios’ son, David, was spending time with Dwight in his home state of Georgia while the NBA is on hiatus. Howard says he was planning on inviting the real estate agent to his 23-acre property to spend time with their son when he found out that she had passed away.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Howard and David were able to attend Rios’ funeral in Reno, Nevada. Those who attended adhered to strict social distancing measures as they mourned, but Howard felt he needed to be there.
“There was no way I could not be there for my son, and even for her family,” Howard said in regard to the funeral. “I definitely would’ve felt like that would’ve been bad. She deserves and he would deserve better if I didn’t do that that.”
Rios’ death has undoubtedly created an emotional burden for Howard. Still, he told ESPN that being around David and his four other children have helped him put the situation in perspective.
“Every moment counts,” Howard explained. “Be grateful for every situation that you have, just be grateful for life. I think we also take for granted the little things and just spending time with people and stuff like that. And you know after having all these situations, it’s like, reconfirming to me just stay in the moment. Always be grateful. Always be grateful for everything you have, every little thing that happens.”