Sunday, March 7, 2004
Updated: March 13, 4:25 PM ET
Leukemia claims son of Hall of Famer
BOSTON -- The last two years of John Henry Williams' life
were spent fighting.
He struggled to make it in baseball, the sport his father and
Hall of Famer Ted Williams excelled in. He battled family members
when he arranged to have his father frozen at a cryonics lab after
his death. And he fought cancer.
On Saturday, that final fight ended in a Los Angeles hospital
Williams died of leukemia at UCLA Medical Center with family
members at his bedside, said Peter Sutton, an attorney for Ted
Williams' family. Williams was 35.
The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald, citing family sources, reported John Henry Williams' remains were delivered to the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Ariz., where his famous father's body has been stored since his death.
Williams, at the center of a controversy surrounding his
father's remains, had been battling the disease for months. In
December, he had a bone marrow transplant, using a donation from
Claudia, his youngest sister.
"On behalf of all of us with the Boston Red Sox, we extend our
condolences to the John Henry Williams family," Red Sox principal
owner John W. Henry said. "Perhaps no person meant more to the
history of the Boston Red Sox than did his father, and it was clear
that his father's life and legacy were the focal point of John
Henry Williams' life.
John Henry Williams, Ted Williams' only son, was 4 when his
parents divorced. After that, he saw little of his larger-than-life
father, a war hero and noted outdoorsman, as well as one of
baseball's greatest hitters of all-time.
But John Henry Williams became part of Ted Williams' life in the
early 1990s after the slugger's romantic companion, Louise
"He took over Ted's business affairs, his household affairs and
he just became the boss," Kay Munday, who managed Williams'
household from 1989-95, told The Associated Press in 2002. "I
would ask Ted something and he would say, 'Let John Henry handle
it,' and I would have to go through John Henry."
After his father died July 5, 2002, John Henry Williams had his
father's body taken to an Arizona cryonics lab for freezing,
setting off a battle with his half-sister, who said her father had
wanted to be cremated.
The matter was settled in December 2002, when Bobby Jo Williams
Ferrell, Ted Williams' oldest daughter, dropped her objections.
An informal family pact that Ted Williams signed in 2000
included a provision that John Henry and Claudia Williams would
join him: "JHW, Claudia and Dad all agree to be put into biostasis
after we die," it read. "This is what we want, to be able to be
together in the future, even if it is only a chance," the document
Sutton declined comment when asked if John Henry Williams had
pursued cryonics for himself. A message left for Joe Waynick, the
CEO of Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Ariz., was
not returned Sunday.
A phone number for Claudia Williams could not be located. A
message left at a listing for John Henry Williams' attorney Eric
Abel in Hernando, Fla., was not returned.
Ted Williams finished with a .344 career average and was the
last major leaguer to bat over .400, when he hit .406 in 1941.
John Henry Williams made an attempt in the past two seasons to
follow in his father's footsteps, playing for some low-level minor
league and independent baseball teams.