Nick Gilbert, son of Dan Gilbert, dies at 26 after battle with neurofibromatosis

Gilbert died Saturday at home, family says

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert congratulates his son Nick Gilbert after the team won the NBA basketball draft lottery, Tuesday, May 21, 2013 in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow) (Jason DeCrow, Associated Press)

Nicolas Gilbert, the son of Dan Gilbert, died on Saturday at the age of 26.

The 26-year-old graduated from Michigan State University in 2020. To many, Nick Gilbert was a good luck charm for the Cleveland Cavaliers after the NBA Draft Lottery in 2011, where the Cavs secured the No. 1 pick.

Nick Gilbert suffered from neurofibromatosis, a nerve disorder that causes tumors to grow anywhere in the body, at any time. According to his obituary, he passed away peacefully at home.

Neurofibromatosis (NF1), which Nick Gilbert had, is also known as the von Recklinghausen disease. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NF1 is the most common of neurofibromatosis. There are a variety of symptoms and medical problems that can change within one’s lifespan living with this condition. To learn more about the symptoms, click here.

The Gilbert family established a nonprofit in 2017 to fund groundbreaking NF research. NF Forward co-funds different initiatives for research, including vision restoration and gene therapy. Jennifer Gilbert, Nick Gilbert’s mother, is the organization’s president and board member. You can learn more about the nonprofit here.

Nick Gilbert’s funeral will be held on May 9 at 1 p.m. at the Temple Israel in West Bloomfield. The 26-year-old will be buried at Clover Hill Park Cemetery in Birmingham.

“It is with a heavy heart that we mourn the passing of Nick Gilbert, son of Dan and Jennifer Gilbert.

“Nick was someone who embodied eternal optimism despite the adversity he faced throughout his life. He will forever be regarded as someone with the kindness and grace of a true friend.

“Nick was a pillar of strength throughout his 26 years of life -- publicly sharing his story of neurofibromatosis (NF1) and giving a voice to the millions of people battling this disease worldwide. It is in this strength that he will be remembered as the fight against NF continues.

“We offer our heartfelt condolences to the Gilbert family, while they mourn privately during this difficult time, as well as to Nick’s friends and those whose lives he touched.”

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In this Tuesday, May 17, 2011 photo, David Kahn, left, general manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves, looks off the the side while Kevin O'Connor, center, general manager of the Utah Jazz, and Nick Gilbert, 14, right, the son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, chat during the 2011 NBA basketball draft lottery meeting in Secaucus, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Associated Press)