'NBA on TNT' Host Ernie Johnson Mourns Loss of Son Michael After Death at 33

NBA on TNT host Ernie Johnson's son, Michael Johnson, died on Friday, the longtime broadcaster announced on Instagram. Michael was 33 and was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in 1991. He was one of four children Johnson and his wife Cheryl Johnson adopted. They also have two biological children, son Eric, and daughter Maggie.

"This guy we adopted from Romania in 1991 and diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy lived a miraculous life of 33 years. We lost Michael Johnson today and we're crushed. But we also know we'll see him again...and that sustains us," Johnson, 65, wrote on Instagram, alongside a photo of Michael. 

Their son needed to use a ventilator due to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a "genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness due to the alterations of a protein called dystrophin that helps keep muscle cells intact," according to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Boys with DMD often did not live beyond their teen years, but recent advancements in cardiac and respiratory care have extended the lives of many DMD patients into their 30s.

After Johnson shared the sad news, Turner Sports sent their condolences to the longtime broadcaster. "We are heartbroken over the passing of Cheryl and Ernie's beloved son, Michael, a true hero who uplifted and brought joy to everyone he touched," the statement read. "The family's love, faith, and commitment to one another will forever be an inspiration to us. Our deepest condolences are with Cheryl, Ernie, and their family, friends, and loved ones as we mourn with them."

The NBA also sent their condolences to the Johnson family. "The NBA mourns the passing of Michael Johnson, the son of Turner Sports' Ernie Johnson. Michael was admired by so many around the league for his remarkable courage and perseverance," the statement read. "We send our heartfelt condolences to Ernie, Cheryl, and their family during this difficult time."


Johnson has been hosting TNT's NBA coverage since 1989. He also hosts the network's coverage of MLB and NCAA Men's Basketball coverage. He has won the Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio Host at the Sports Emmys seven times.