clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Nick Gilbert dies at age 26

Gilbert, the son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, had battled neurofibromatosis for his entire life.

2011 NBA Draft Lottery Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Nick Gilbert, the son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, has died at age 26.

Gilbert is best known to Cavs and NBA fans for representing the team at several NBA draft lotteries where Cleveland had luck. With Nick Gilbert sporting his signature bow tie, Cleveland won lotteries in 2011 (when they picked Kyrie Irving) and 2013 (when they picked Anthony Bennett.)

Nick Gilbert had a lifelong battle with neurofibromatosis (NF1), which causes noncancerous tumors to grow on nerve pathways throughout the body.

The Cavs have not sent out any announcements about Nick Gilbert’s death. His death was announced by the Ira Kaufman Chapel in Southfield, Michigan; the Gilbert’s are from Michigan. The funeral, according to the announcement, will be Tuesday.

A cause of death was not announced.

He is survived by his father, Dan, his mother, Jennifer and his siblings Jennifer Gilbert; his siblings, Grant, Gracie, AJ and Nash Gilbert.

“Nick inspired people everywhere with his bravery and brought joy to everyone he met,” Mike Duggan, the mayor of Detroit, posted to Twitter. “All of Detroit has the Gilbert family in our prayers today.”

The Cavs dedicated last season to Nick Gilbert, with team employees wearing bowtie pins and players wearing bowtie emblems during warmups.

Update: May 7 at 7:59 p.m.

The Cavs issued the following statement in a press release. The release states that Nick Gilbert died from “complications related to Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1).”

“It is with heavy hearts that we join the Gilbert family and the Rock Family of Companies in mourning the loss of Nick Gilbert, who passed away yesterday from complications related to Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1).

Nick was a light and inspiration to so many throughout his 26 years of life. Whether taking on his signature role as the Cavs’ good luck charm during several NBA Draft Lotteries or using his voice to advocate in the fight against NF, Nick’s unrelenting spirit has been a driving force behind our organization.

It was our honor to stand with Nick this past season and celebrate the strength and resilience of all those impacted by NF. Our season-long Bow Tie campaign was a constant reminder that there’s still more work to be done to find a cure.

Those who would like to honor Nick’s memory are asked to contribute to NF Forward at

We send our thoughts, prayers and love to the entire Gilbert family and to everyone who loved Nick.”