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Nephew of tennis legends Serena and Venus commits suicide

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KING Richard’s grandson Alphonse Williams – the nephew of tennis legends Serena and Venus – has taken his own life.

The 21-year-old never met his famous aunties and grandfather Richard, who is portrayed in the Oscar-nominated movie starring Will Smith, because of a bitter family rift, which has been raging for decades.

Sabrina has opened up about losing her son to suicide

Sabrina has opened up about losing her son to suicide Credit: www.thisischriswhite.com 

He never met his grandfather, Richard Williams, who is portrayed by Will Smith in the movie King Richard

He never met his grandfather, Richard Williams, who is portrayed by Will Smith in the movie King RichardCredit: Getty

His mother Sabrina, 57, is the sporting duo’s half-sister from Richard’s first marriage to Betty Johnson, where he walked out on the five children when Sabrina was just eight.

Since then, she’s seen him a couple of times, as he’s largely ignored his first family.

Now, tragically her youngest of two boys took his own life on February 3 after battling his own demons, which included a recent diagnosis of Peyronie’s disease, which causes the curvature of the penis.

A third of sufferers are also hit with “serious depression”.

Speaking exclusively to The Sun, Sabrina said: “When my son attempted [to end] his life two and a half years ago, I asked God, save his life and give me a little bit more time, please.

“And God answered my prayers. He did. He gave me two and a half years more than I expected.

“I knew he was on loan and God called in that loan.”

Sabrina, who lives in Las Vegas and shared a home with Alphonse and his elder brother Elijah, 23, only knew the devastating impact Peyronie’s disease can have on mental health after her son’s passing when she read about the condition online.

She says: “He was crying last Monday, hysterical crying. The week before, the doctor confirmed what he already knew, that he had Peyronie’s.

“He had started back at high school, he was going into his fourth semester of computer engineering and was regularly seeing a counselor.

“It’s going to take six to eight weeks for the coroner to find out what he bought. We know he’s taken some strong medicines which would have made him fall asleep, he would have gone into respiratory distress, but wouldn’t have known. He just never woke up.”

“I can ask God why didn’t he take some damn frickin’ serial killer? Or child molester or something? But I will never know the answer.

“My son went to the gym, he was 165 pounds of pure muscle. He had only eight percent body weight when he died, he was a serious athlete.

“He became a vegan, he joined a couple of clubs, but the news that he got from the doctor…

“I read online for hours. One of the top symptoms is depression. I’m not denying that he died with mental health problems, but I truly believe that if my son got some help, somebody was able to talk to him, I think he would still be here.

“He had no idea that this thing was making him more depressed. When he got the news, he just couldn’t handle it, how many of us could have handled it at that age?

“I had my own mental health issues, but it wasn’t until my late 30s that it was sorted out, when I was quitting jobs and jeopardizing myself, screwing up, I was just so suicidal.

GRIEVING ALONE

“I told my family and was put in hospital for three days. You need to speak to someone. Mental health is a disease, but I want to tell other people: ‘You can get through this’.”

Sabrina knows that she and Elijah will be grieving alone.

Her father Richard never showed any interest in Alphonse, neither did Serena or Venus, and Sabrina says she won’t waste any more energy on trying to connect with them.

Richard, who turns 80 on Valentine’s Day, went on to marry Serena and Venus’s mother Oracene after Sabrina’s mom and made it his number one priority for his daughters to become tennis pros, even writing a 78-page manifesto outlining his blueprint for success.

In stark contrast, Sabrina’s earlier life was blighted with mental health struggles, as a consequence of a tough, poverty-stricken upbringing after her father’s abandonment.

“The rest of the family are now dead to me,” Sabrina said of her estranged father and siblings.

A funeral service is being organized for her son and mourners will wear Batman or DC comic t-shirts, as he was a huge fan, while his favorite hits by Taylor Swift and Pink will also be played at the service.

The family plan to go for a walk after the funeral and visit Alphonse’s favorite vegan restaurant.

“After that, it’s going to be a mission to reach out to help other people, it will be his legacy, I miss my baby,” Sabrina said. “That’s my life goal. I have an unconditional desire to help people.”

Sabrina says her dad walked out and focused on Serena and Venus after remarrying

Sabrina says her dad walked out and focused on Serena and Venus after remarryingCredit: Getty 

The family are grieving after Alphonse's tragic death earlier this month

The family are grieving after Alphonse’s tragic death earlier this month credit: www.thisischriswhite.com 

Sabrina says she wants to raise awareness of mental health issues

Sabrina says she wants to raise awareness of mental health issues Credit: www.thisischriswhite.com

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About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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