Nick Gilbert, Son Of Rocket Cos. Founder, Dies After Long Illness
26-year-old was a 'good luck charm' for the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, owned by his father.
Nicolas "Nick" Gilbert, the 26-year-old son of Rocket Companies founder and chairman Dan Gilbert, died Saturday after a long illness.
“After a lifelong, courageous battle with Neurofibromatosis (NF1), Nick died peacefully at home surrounded by family,” states an obituary posted by the Ira Kaufman Chapel in Southfield, Mich., on its website.
NF1, also known as von Recklinghausen disease, is a genetic nerve disorder that causes tumors.
At age 5, Nick received chemotherapy to remove a benign tumor in his optic nerve, which left him blind in his right eye and with about 25% vision in his left. He underwent numerous surgeries related to the condition, including major brain surgery in 2018.
At age 11, he became a favorite of fans of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers when he represented the team his father owns during the draft lottery and the team won the No. 1 overall pick.
“It is with heavy hearts that we join the Gilbert family and the Rock Family of Companies in mourning the loss of Nick Gilbert,” the team said in a statement posted to the Cavs’ page on NBA.com.
“Nick was a light and inspiration to so many throughout his 26 years of life,” the statement continued. “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.”
The statement added, “We send our thoughts, prayers, and love to the entire Gilbert family and to everyone who loved Nick.”
A funeral will be held at Temple Israel in West Bloomfield, Mich., on Tuesday at 1 p.m. The funeral will be livestreamed from the sanctuary; a link will be provided on the Ira Kaufman Chapel website before the service.
In addition to his parents, Dan and Jennifer Gilbert, Nick is survived by his siblings Grant, Gracie, AJ, and Nash Gilbert; his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends, as well as “devoted doctors, nurses, and caregivers,” the obituary states.
Donations in Nick’s memory may be made to NF Forward, 1074 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI, 48226, or www.nfforwarddetroit.org/donate/. NF Forward is a nonprofit organization founded by the Gilberts to fund research into the disorder.