Jim Kelly Tough

Kenny King, 1949-2014.

My brother died Sunday, doing what he absolutely loved to do. He was 64, recently retired, a walkaholic, and he and his wife, Jane, were walking in a small village in England—where they lived—and he stumbled and fell. He said he didn’t feel well. An ambulance was called. On the way to the hospital his heart stopped, and the medics in the ambulance couldn’t make it start again.

Two King brothers gone, one left. That’s me, the baby of the family. Two King siblings left: Pam, my sister, and me.

It hurts in such a different way from the pain of my brother Bob’s death in 2010, also from a heart attack. Bob was just three years older than I was, and we spent a lot of time together playing sports and sharing a room and, well, beating each other up. (He got the better of those, but it didn’t stop me.) Ken was eight years older, and I didn’t interact with him very much as a kid. That’s a big age gap. But after I got out of college, we started talking more, and visiting more, and even when he and Jane moved to England in 1983, we kept in touch consistently. And what was a distant relationship became in past years a much closer one. He was my buddy. My wife and I visited Ken and Jane three weeks ago, to see them and their new grandson, Thomas. We walked. We watched sports. We went to pubs. One night, we stopped in one of his favorites, The Lamplighter in Northampton, 90 minutes north of London. We talked about retirement; this was his first full year of it. I wondered what he wanted to do with himself now. “Nothing,’’ he said. “There will come a time when I’ll want to do something, but I love just getting up and having nothing to do right now.”

Brothers Peter and Kenny King (Courtesy of the King family)
Brothers Peter and Kenny King (Courtesy of the King family)

Except watching and monitoring sports. From his little village of Denton in the middle of sheep pastures, he’d listen to Yankee games on the internet (however did we coexist?) and tell me the most arcane things. “Chamberlain can never get the first batter out,” he’d say, “Why does Girardi keep using him?” A string of those things, almost daily. We planned a baseball trip this summer, and last Thursday we confirmed all the details by phone. He and Jane would fly into Boston in June, and we’d see games in Boston and New York and Washington. Baseball trips were his favorites. We went to Game One of the 2012 World Series in San Francisco; there’s a photo of us together before that game, right in his kitchen. We went on three spring training trips too. He just loved baseball, but he also loved cricket and rugby and his fantasy soccer team. And Liverpool. We were going to Anfield when I visited three weeks ago, but Liverpool had to move the game to a later date, so we missed out. No matter. “We’ll go next season,” I said. Instead, we got to sit in his living room and watch Six Nations Rugby. Ken was a pal of Neil Hornsby, the Pro Football Focus guru, and when I called Neil to tell him the news, he said, “We were going to a cricket match soon.”

Ken was the smart guy in the family. He went to William & Mary, the first college grad in the King family, and earned a scholarship to Cambridge University for a year. Everything he encountered he wanted to know more about. I always saw him reading—at a young age, middle age, now. He was a relentless learner. And such a good person. All three mornings in England, he said, “Ready to go for coffee?” He didn’t drink it, but he took me to the Costa Coffee shop in the next town, knowing I wanted a latte in the morning. That was Ken and Jane—always concerned first, second and third with others.

Anyway … I don’t know what else to say about my big brother. Except I love the fact we got closer later in life, and I couldn’t wait to see him when he came over, or when I went over there. He was a very good man, and I’m lucky he was my brother.

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298 comments
BenitoCortez
BenitoCortez

Keeping your eyes focused on Jesus and he will grab your hand and pull you up.  God has a plan for you and God Bless Erin's Kelly toughness...your faith is contagious. 

PaulRoy
PaulRoy

Best of luck to you and family. I  still cannot  understand how you guys go through this. I just lost a 66 year old  friend to cancer last week. He could only fight for 2 and a half month. Pancreatic cancer is very quick,yet he fought it with dignity and always asking how we were and not diverting anything to himself. Now there is a hero, just like you.  

ricktney
ricktney

Was wondering if he smoked or chewed tobacco?

CHETVENTURA
CHETVENTURA

God Bless you Jim Kelly! I've been a long time fan of yours dating back to the UFL. I was so excited when the Bills landed you as their quarterback. I have followed your career on and off the field. My heart broke when you and Jill lost your son to a terrible disease. Losing a loved one is always heartbreaking but when it's your child it's almost unbearable. But you and Jill drew strength from his passing and have done so much for others. It's now our turn to give back to you if not only through our prayers for you, Jill and your loved ones. God Bless you Jim! Let's go "BEAT" this opponent! It'll be sweeter than any Super Bowl!

WalkerPI
WalkerPI

The only thing Jim Kelly is going to be buying anytime soon is a cemetary plot and a pine box, not the Bills. It's doubtful he'll even make it to the first regular season game.

Lannonr10
Lannonr10

Dear Jim, Dr. Kristen Goss, PHD. Erie Community College culinary Professor is an expert in healing she has been a wonderful friend to me and knows all about foods and chem. I as well as my entire family are praying for all of you. Rose and Christian Lannon

DanielSantanaVega
DanielSantanaVega

If any one can get this info to Jim, I believe it will help him greatly. The Mathew 4 Protocol.


Step1: Begin eliminating non-vegetable Carbs like bread, pasta, sweets(no sugars at all it feeds cancer cells) soft drinks, Juices, rice, corn, and other grains and fruits and starchy foods like potatoes.


Step2: Replace with non starch foods like leafy green vegetables, high quality proteins, preferably organic, grass fed beef, pastured raised chickens and eggs, wild caught salmon, healthy fats, coconut oil,olive oil, avocados.


Step3: introduce an intermittent fasting program to speed up the process. this will help your body move into a fat adapted state. this will eventually begin to kill cancer cells on its own.


Vegetables like broccoli, avocados, tomatoes, garlic very important, spinach. also powdered vegetables provide very important nutrients and vitamins essential for chemo and cancer medicines. Alkaline water with ph above 8. alkaline foods, cancer cannot live in an alkaline body.



Praying for your Fast recovery Jim,


May God send you shalom, and his angels to protect you.

Shambra Worthey
Shambra Worthey

I lost my husband to lung cancer 3yrs ago and I thought he fought the most valiant fight.  He often refused pain meds to remain in the moment with me, because he didn't want to miss the few precious moments we had left.  Each one's fight is different and special.  For all who have fought and are fighting, it is a special journey.  I understand what JK was trying to say and am not offended by it. Theirs is a journey those of us who are fortunate not to have had to take, is a tough and arduous one.  Thank God we haven't  had to.  I met a cancer survivor at the CTCA in Chicago who said, "we are members of a club that none of us wanted to join, but once in, we are members for life and no one ever leaves."  I know the struggle and I don't ever want to leave my brothers to struggle alone.  My prayers are with you Jim......fight on.

Shambra Worthey
Shambra Worthey

Greater is He Who is in you than he or it that is in all the world.  You are more than a conqueror. By His stripes you WERE healed on the cross.  I thank and praise God for the testimony He has given you.  My He continue to bless and strengthen you.

Ben Kenobe
Ben Kenobe

Peter, from a long-time reader; this was one of the most difficult columns I've been privileged to read. As a western New Yorker and a season ticket holder during the Bills' Super Bowl years (33-7 at the Ralph while we attended), your words about two of our heroes, Jim Kelly and Mr. Wilson, were right on. And your reflections about your brother were beautiful. Must have been the dust irritating my eyes while I read your words. Thanks.

dkendr
dkendr

I hope Jim KeLLLLy recovers.  It would be a shame if Jim KeLLLLy did not.

DrewM
DrewM

Sorry about the cancer. I hope it was the drugs talking when you said "nobody else could have withstood it"....arrogance about this subject is a horrid thing. My father died in absolute agony, and I guarantee he withstood more than you have even thought about. Hope you get better, but shut up.

LennyDiWilliams
LennyDiWilliams

beautifully written story about your brother, Mr. King.  I wish the two of you could have shared that one final baseball trip.


My condolences on your loss!

choney131
choney131

I'm sorry for your loss.  Glad that you had the opportunity to enjoy the relationship later in life.

Smash-Mouth.com
Smash-Mouth.com

Truly sorry to hear of your loss, Peter. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. 

mandytrue
mandytrue

Dearest Jim:


I am from Niagara Falls. NY and I moved to Chicago in 1996 but I am still a Bills Fan and I still remember you in the bills glory days. You are a strong and a compassionate man. A man of god who has much faith. I have that same faith that no matter what god gives me, I will rise up to his challenge and with his help make it through.

Rely on your faith and that of your family and friends and the oh so many fans around the world who love you and know with our strength and gods you will make it. I know your a fighter and will fight till the end. Be strong , I am praying for you and with your and your family now. 

Genny
Genny

Brother Jim i was reading your article today and i was just taken up.  I know you are a man of great faith so do not fear we are agents on this earth. The promise of the Lord says Ps 91:1-16 verse 3 says 'He will keep you safe from hidden dangers and from all deadly diseases, He will cover you with his wings. God says i will save who love and will protect those who acknowledge me as Lord! How great is our God.  I know you are great earthly player with many goals and now as spiritual player greater goals has to be won.  Brother Jim my prayers are with you & family.  May Jesus & Mother Mary be with you always.  God never makes mistakes everything has a purpose because God is LOVE. The word of God says in Isaiah Do not be afraid i have written your name in the Palm of my hands, you are mine i will protect you. Let our Lord Jesus bless & heal you, if it  is all according to his will & plan. Amen

jrp1947
jrp1947

As great as he may have been as a football player it was just a game and he was just an employee of it. what we give tribute to now is the bravery of the man not the player. few men will walk the unforgivable mile that he is walking now showing the rest that a person can do it if they really believe in something. This is the story of a man not a player being great and may he be allowed to heal.  

donb22
donb22

Jim my prayers are with you, I fought cancer twice and won, keep the fight!

TraceyFailla
TraceyFailla

So sorry to all of you that had, have, cancer. Get well Jim, I hope god is also at your side during your battle.


mtdog1260
mtdog1260

although a patriots fan I was always pulling 4 u in all 4 super bowls.I think u were a great quarterback with plenty of flash and swagger.God bless JK

RichardJenkins
RichardJenkins

cannabis oil should be a treatment consideration

dltanner7
dltanner7

As a "normal person" who fought cancer, surgeries, chemo and radiation next to other "normal persons" I am offended by his not so humble arrogance. Lots of "normal persons" have gone through what he's going through, with or without support and without the resources that he has have at his disposal. I am sorry for his condition but I think he is completely off base with his impression of the "normal person", we may not be some super athelete or entertainer but in general te salt of the earth usually are determined survivors and have endured an hundred fold of troubles that he has ever seen.

jim35
jim35

Over half a century ago I went to school @ the Univ. of Arkansas when Joe Ferguson was our QB became the QB @ Buffalo before Jim Kelly. I then went to the Univ. of Minnesota when Tarkington QB'd there. Ihave lost 4 superbowls w/ the Vikes & the Bills & I am from South Philadelphia, Pa  10 superbowls down w/ no wins. I am 70+ have had 83 surgerys  , 57 from Vietnam alone & I am still kicking when all of my friends & family are all gone. I wish Jim Kelly a godsend prayer to heal his body & make him well. I have always wondered why I am still  alive especially w/ all of the damage that I had from Nam & everyone who had someone  to live for around me passed away. It has never made sense to me.

led
led

Peter, very sorry for your loss. Jim, we're all rooting for you to get well.

downriger
downriger

i wish you well warrior your along for the ride but you must fight back, from a two time survivor. i will think of you and sandra a fringe who is battling breast cancer 

mrbrown1958
mrbrown1958

Praying for you. Read "The Cancer Killers, The cause is the cure", 110 pages of great info.,  by Dr. Charles Majors (he had cancer), Dr. Ben Lerner, With Sater Ji....www.TheCancerKillers.info

Blessings!

PaulTB
PaulTB

Hi Peter.  Sorry to hear of your loss--very nice tribute. This is from a fellow Bostonian who enjoys your passion for sports and life: Seriously, if you eat meat, try to stop. If you can, stick to whole, lightly-steamed vegetables, fresh fish, vegan protein powder, (if you cannot get fresh fish 2-3 times a day), maybe a little brown rice--no breads or pasta, nothing processed--use low heat coconut oil, also use some type of supplemental roughage such as psyllium husks or Fiber One, found in most health food stores. You may also want to speak to an MD named Dean Ornish, who helped Bill Clinton out a lot. Nothing but respect and kindness--no other reason. My very best to you. 

dhartson
dhartson

WOW ! I had no idea he was going thru this!  My best hopes and wishes for him and his family! Hang in there, you can beat this!

mbomcar
mbomcar

The hardest lesson we will ever have to learn is that life isn't fair. It's what we do with that truth going forward that makes all the difference. May the Kellys find the strength and the peace they will need to accept that this may be one battle that can't be won. 

JohnO'Brien
JohnO'Brien

Mr. Kelly. The O'Brien Clan and all the Clans of Ireland are gathering in Ireland this month for the Millennium Celebration. We will salute you there and pray our hearts out together there for your recovery. Nothing is impossible with our God.


My very best to you and your family from the O'Brien Clan  O'BrienClan.com



olesid
olesid

....you are in my Prayers Kelly.  (from : San Antonio, Texas)

JoeLaher
JoeLaher

Jim,  As I read your current circumstances, I cannot help go back over my own.  Neuro-blastoma at the age of six, 5% chance of survival. 59 years cancer free and then colon cancer.  Cannot receive chemo.  No sign of return 18 months later.  I am currently a pastor who went through a time when I asked the Lord to take me home because dealing with this new cancer had gotten so bad due to a life threatening infection.  He said NO!.  We are in the hands of an AWESOME God in who all things are possible. I came to know your teammate Frank Reich through a non-profit I was directing and Frank came and spoke at a fundraiser for us. His faith was an inspiration to me through my battle, as is yours.  It is obvious to me that both of you came from a culture of faith and determination with the Bills.  It's easy to call God good when all is well.  It's harder to call Him good when we struggle.  He is the same God.  May the God of all comfort be with you and your family each and every moment as you walk this journey.

JeanKarpinski
JeanKarpinski

GOD BLESS MR. KELLY AND HIS FAMILY I WILL SAY A PRAY FOR THEM.

LouieRey
LouieRey

He was a great quarterback and a true example of a professional.  Of course, being A Giants fan, I rooted against him in Super Bowl XXV but that doesn't diminish his talent.  No other team has yet to (or probably never will) get to four Super Bowls in a row but he led the Bills to just that.  Let's hope he finally wins the Big One and conquers this disease once and for all.

khiggins
khiggins

As tough a QB as he was... and he was the toughest I ever saw,, he is a good man.. and we need him around.. praying for you Jim 

Jason Plunkett
Jason Plunkett

@WalkerPI You sir are a negative cancer yourself and nobody needs to hear your words. Faith is the substance of things not seen, but believed to come to pass. Jim if you have been reading comments which I doubt, your gonna make it keep believing for that miracle and just know it WILL happen :P

Mrs.Beasley
Mrs.Beasley

@DrewM  What a completely asinine comment. My brother died in agony, and so did my grandmother and my dear friend. But I'd never presume to know whose agony was more agonizing and neither should you. The man has multiple malignancies, including on a NERVE leading to his brain. You really want to guess what that kind of nerve pain felt like? I wouldn't be surprised if he said that the normal person wouldn't have been able to take it because that's what his doctors told him. It doesn't take anything away from the terrible suffering your father endured if someone else endures it, too. As a matter of fact, I'll bet your father would tell you the same thing himself if he could. So I hope Kelly gets better, too. But YOU need to GROW up.

ITATTRACTS
ITATTRACTS

@dltanner7  you do realize he was being interviewed in front of his daughter who thinks the world of him and needs him to come across strong right? get over yourself. 

radioactivez0r
radioactivez0r

@dltanner7  You and the people who agree with you have actually reached the level of shaming cancer victims.  No no, be proud.

htg
htg

@dltanner7  


i agree with you 100%  i sympathize with anyone going through what this guy is going through but its certainly not uncommon and " normal people " go through it and more every day and their not even " kelly tough "  typical jock mentality , they think way too much of themselves because they grew a little more then the average guy and could play a kids game well .  Its a shame always liked him till i learned that he was a superior being or at least thinks of himself that way . 

TimCogan
TimCogan

@dltanner7 Thank you ! I get blasted when I express my outrage over this windbag......Everyone who fights cancer is just as tough as him.....and most , far most, have lived far more exemplary lives. for the record....I had cancer and had a stepson with similar life conditions to Hunter who passed. What makes jk so special ?

Patrick Joseph
Patrick Joseph

@ITATTRACTS @dltanner7  More important to be humble, which does not seem to be his forte but that's okay, we all have karma.  Pray for him even though he's not 'normal'. 

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