Vernon Davis is helping a family cope with the tragic loss of their son by giving them Super Bowl tickets … telling TMZ Sports he wanted to, “Bring some joy to their spirits.”
The story is super sad … 17-year-old Ryan Howey was a normal football-loving teenager until he was suddenly diagnosed with brain cancer last May.
Howey’s illness was gripping … the poor kid had to go through chemo and radiation 5 days a week for 6 weeks just to start treatments — and even needed more rounds of chemo after that.
Howey was huge Redskins fan — and when Davis got word of the boy’s illness last month … the tight end hopped in a car and drove two hours to visit the sick boy.
Tragically … Ryan passed away just days later — so Vernon pondered ways he could help out the family.
His solution?? Give 3 Super Bowl tickets to Ryan’s mom, dad and sister … and fly them out to Atlanta and put them up in a hotel for the big game.
“I Facetimed them … I was explaining to them, ‘Hey, I think it’d be great if you guys can go to the Super Bowl. I have three tickets for you all and I’m putting you up in a hotel and you guys get to see a good game.'”
Davis said, “Tears of joy” flowed from the family … adding, “I don’t feel like no one was really thinking of them in that manner. It was just on my heart, man.”
The game is set to go down Feb. 3 … props to Davis and the Redskins for the heartfelt move.
“The Bachelor” contestant Cristy Caserta died as a result of an enlarged heart and an overactive thyroid … TMZ has learned.
According to the autopsy report, obtained by TMZ, Caserta’s cause of death was cardiomegaly and hyperthyroidism. As we reported … Caserta was only 38 when she died suddenly back in October after suffering an apparent seizure.
She was attending a class at a school in Sunrise, FL when she just fell forward at the desk where she was sitting. Caserta went into cardiac arrest and was shortly thereafter pronounced dead.
Caserta appeared on season 15 of “The Bachelor” … when Brad Womack appeared for the second time at a shot of finding love. She didn’t make it past the first week.
Aretha Franklin‘s riches weren’t getting much R-E-S-P-E-C-T, allegedly, before she died last August — cops are on the hunt for someone who stole from her.
According to legal docs, obtained by TMZ, police in Michigan are conducting an investigation into the theft of Aretha’s assets before she died.
Law enforcement sources tell us the criminal probe involves someone inappropriately using her funds. We’re told a report was filed last June, but it’s unclear exactly how much money’s gone missing.
As you know … Aretha’s finances have been under the microscope following her death. The IRS is hounding her estate, claiming she owes more than $ 6.3 mil in back taxes. And, she’s being dogged over legal bills.
We’re guessing this isn’t what Aretha had in mind when she famously sang, “I’m about to give you all of my money.”
Brandon Church — the late brother of country star Eric Church — died as a result of chronic alcoholism … TMZ has learned.
According to the autopsy report obtained by TMZ … Brandon had a clinical history of alcohol withdrawal-induced seizure disorder — meaning he had a history of binge drinking and trying to quit … which would trigger a seizure.
As we reported … Brandon suffered 2 seizures when he died last June in Granite Falls, North Carolina. The second seizure — suffered while he was on his way to the hospital — appears to have sent him into cardiac arrest.
According to the autopsy, the alcohol abuse also caused a thickening of his heart, coronary artery disease and liver damage.
Brandon, who had written a handful of songs over the years with his famous brother, was 36.
“Mean” Gene Okerlund was seriously injured during a nasty fall back in December … triggering a rapid decline in his health that ultimately led to his death, his son tells TMZ Sports.
We spoke with Todd Okerlund who says Okerlund suffered multiple broken ribs during the fall at his Florida home and was treated at a hospital in Sarasota.
Todd says Okerlund had been in frail health for a while but the fall clearly made things much worse.
Just 4 days before his death, Gene was admitted to a nursing home …. but he began to have trouble breathing and was rushed to a hospital on Wednesday where he ultimately passed away with his wife, Jeanne, by his side.
Todd tells us … the family has been touched by all of the support for his father. Todd also says Gene LOVED his career and would have done it for free.
Vince McMahon also issued a statement on Okerlund … saying, “It was impossible not to crack a smile whenever ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund entered a room. He was the voice behind so many of WWE’s most iconic and entertaining moments, and the WWE family will miss him immensely.”
Penny Marshall died from heart failure, heart disease and complications from diabetes … this according to her death certificate.
We obtained Penny’s death certificate, issued Monday by the L.A. County Coroner’s Office … and it lists heart failure as the primary cause of death. The document also says cardiovascular disease and diabetes were contributing factors.
TMZ broke the story — Penny died December 17 in her Hollywood Hills home — the certificate lists 9:10 PM as her time of death.
The famed actress and director of huge films like “Big,” “The Preacher’s Wife” and “League of Their Own” was cremated 10 days after she died.
“Big” star, Tom Hanks, was one of the first to post a tribute to Penny after her death, saying, “Goodbye, Penny. Man, did we laugh a lot! Wish we still could. Love you. Hanx.”