View Full Version : Jim Kelly's son, Hunter, Passes away

08-05-2005, 12:31 PM
If you remember, Jim use to talk about his son's condition all the time back in the day. Unfortunately, he passed away this morning at the age of 8.


BUFFALO, N.Y. - Hunter Kelly, whose battle with a fatal nervous system disease inspired his Hall of Fame father Jim Kelly's charitable works, died Friday morning. He was 8.

"Our prayers go to the family and kids," Jim Kelly's brother, Dan, told The Associated Press.

Born in 1997, Hunter Kelly was given no more than three years to live after being diagnosed with Krabbe Disease, an inherited degenerative disorder of the central and peripheral nervous systems. The disease hinders development of the myelin sheath, a fatty covering that protects the brain's nerve fibers.

In honor of their son, Jim Kelly and his wife, Jill, established the Hunter's Hope Foundation in 1997, which has raised more than $6 million and awarded more than $3.8 million to leukodystrophy and other neurological disease-related research.

The disease has no known cure.

Jim Kelly, who won an unprecedented four straight AFC titles as the Bills' quarterback in the early 1990s, had credited his son for serving as his inspiration after he retired from football following the 1996 season.

"He'll never be able to do what daddy did," Kelly said last year. "But he's going to do greater things. He's going to make a difference in kids' lives. He already has."

Kelly and his son happened to share the same birthday, Valentine's Day.

The Kelly family was preparing to issue a press release later in the day, Dan Kelly said.

08-05-2005, 01:24 PM
That is very sad!! Being a long time Jim Kelley fan, I remember all to well the agony they went through when Hunter was first diagnosed. My thoughts and prayers will be with them through this very difficult time.

Cord blood transplants were not that common eight years ago. A lot of research has been done, and is still in progress, over the benefits of this process. These days, parents can save cord blood from their babies and have it "stored." Unfortunately, it was not a common practice when Hunter was born. It is still mostly done in University (teaching) hospitals. Not that common in rural or smaller hospitals. I work in a facility where we deliver approximately 200 babies a month, and I see it done maybe twice a year. Maybe Jim can do something to help get the word out as to the benefits of this procedure. I sure hope so!!

Youngstown Colt
08-05-2005, 01:49 PM
Jim Kelly's Hall Of Fame Induction Speech
August 3, 2002

....Then there is my only son, Hunter. Born on February 14, Valentine's Day, my birthday. The son I've always wanted. I've dreamt what every father dreams about, playing catch in the backyard, going fishing, camping, everything that fathers and sons do. But within four months my son was diagnosed with a fatal disease called Krabbe leukodystrophy. They told us to take him home, and make him comfortable. And from that day, my wife and I decided to fight this disease. And so, we made it our lifelong commitment to make sure that kids all over the world don't suffer like my son does.

Since the day I was selected, I prayed to God that my son would be here with me today. God has granted me that blessing. It has been written throughout my career that toughness is my trademark. Well, the toughest person I've ever met in my life is my hero, my soldier, my son, Hunter. I love you, buddy.

Thank you, Canton, thank you Buffalo and God bless.I always loved that speech.

08-05-2005, 01:57 PM
Wow! Me too!

08-05-2005, 02:08 PM
That is so disheartening to read about his son's death today. His son seemed to be his inspiration. Can't even imagine the hurt the Kelly family is going thru now.
It must be the hardest thing in the world when parents have to bury their children, instead of the other way around.

08-05-2005, 02:12 PM
Nothing worse than losing a child, expededly or otherwise. God granted them the gift to care for HIS child (a special privilage) for over 8 years. Our angel was with us for 6 years before he took her home. My heart and prayers go out to Jim & Jill.

08-05-2005, 10:24 PM
My God bless Jim and Jill. My thoughts and prayers go out to them.

mike moffat
08-06-2005, 01:10 PM
I always loved that speech.
This really puts life in prospective. What's really important. Hunter is now in the hands of God. Not a better place to be. I feel for the family, but, am inspired to be happy for Hunter.