Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. and his family are mourning the loss of his fifth and youngest child, son Marlo, who has died at age 6 months.
The NFL player announced the heartbreaking news on his Instagram page on Saturday, alongside a photo of the baby. He did not reveal the cause of the boy's death.
"Yesterday the Lord called home a piece of my family's heart, Marlo," he wrote. "It is hard to believe that our little angel, our fighter from day one, our son 'Marlito' has unfortunately passed away and is no longer here with us. Marlo, the joy that you brought to us everyday, with that smile, and that energy was like heaven on earth. You will always be in our hearts. We will always remember you. We did not get the chance to hear your first words (It would've been in Spanish too) ☺️. We didn't get to see you run with your brothers and sister, you ran with them with your eyes everyday."
"We know that everything that We do from here on out will be with you," he continued. "Every step we take, you will be with us. Whenever we have a bad day, We will think of your smile. We miss you already buddy and will forever love you. Rest peacefully our sweet baby boy. You have gained your wings."
Just four days ago, Marvin posted on his Instagram page a video of him, wife Jazmyn Jones, Marlo and their other kids, sons Marvin Jones III, 10; Mareon, 8; and Murrell, 4; and daughter Mya Love, 3, all wearing matching Christmas pajamas.
The Detroit Lions also issued a statement on Twitter on Saturday, saying, "Earlier today, we were informed by Marvin and Jazmyn Jones about the sudden passing of their youngest son, Marlo. The Detroit Lions fully support Marvin and Jazmyn during this extremely difficult time. Marvin and Jazmyn embody the true meaning of family, and the example they set has made them an inspiration to so many in our community. We thank everyone for the outpouring of support. On behalf of the Jones family, we ask that everyone respect the privacy of the matter at this time.
The Green Bay Packers, who played against the Lions on Sunday, tweeted, "Our deepest sympathies go out to the Jones family & the Lions organization during this difficult time."