By Agence France-Presse
Former number one NBA draft pick Dwight Howard says he is struggling to cope after the recent death of his six-year-old son’s mother.
Melissa Rios, who was 31, died on March 27 after having an epileptic seizure at her home in Calabasas, California, Howard said.
Howard attended the funeral last month in Reno, Nevada then returned to his off-season home in Georgia with his son.
“It’s extremely difficult for me to try to understand how to talk to my son, who’s six years old, just about the whole situation,” Howard said told reporters in a conference call on Friday.
“Something I’ve never experienced. So I wouldn’t know how to talk to my son about it. So just with him being here and stuff like that, it’s kind of given me some extra life.”
The Lakers role player has five children with five different women, and has been in and out of the courts in battles over child support and custody.
Howard said Friday he was texting Rios about her coming to Georgia when he learned she had died.
“There was no way I could not be there for my son and even for her family,” Howard said. “I definitely would’ve felt like that would’ve been bad. She deserves and he would deserve better if I didn’t do that.”
Howard was averaging 7.5 points per game with the Los Angeles Lakers when the NBA season was shut down March 11 because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.