Long before the Roloffs graced screens on TLC’s “Little People, Big World” in 2006, the famous reality TV family suffered a tragedy. Matt Roloff, the patriarch of the Oregon family, prematurely said goodbye to his younger brother Josh in a heartbreaking loss, Radar Online revealed in 2016.
Matt, one of the family members who was born with dwarfism, talked about the tragedy in the 2007 book, “Little People, Big Values.” Josh was born two years after Matt and faced a complicated birth just like his big brother. Matt suffers from diastrophic dwarfism, which affects his leg, arm, shoulder, hip and knee.
Josh, however, was born with an obstruction that affected his heart and lungs. It would ultimately lead to his untimely death at 34 years old.
“A great son, brother, uncle and friend who was with us in this life for far too short a time,” the family said in a statement when Josh died in 1999, per Radar Online. “We all miss you and think of you every day, and we look forward to being reunited with you one day in the presence of our Lord.”
Doctors Didn’t Think Josh Would Survive to Be 1 Day Old
Matt continued to discuss his younger brother in another book, “Tall Odds: Being A David In A Goliath World,” which was cited in a 2017 article by Radar Online.
Doctors didn’t expect Josh to make it out of the hospital alive — let alone live until he was 34 years old. “Not long after the delivery, the doctors diagnosed Josh as having severe heart and lung problems they thought would probably take his life before he was a day old,” Matt penned in his book. Two weeks later, and just before Christmas in 1964, Josh went home to be with his family.
Josh underwent several surgeries throughout his life before doctors discovered his condition could not be fixed. “He’s had many close calls with death, and Mom has had to resuscitate him more times than she cares to remember,” Matt recalled about his brother. “Many times Josh’s heart and lungs have simply stopped functioning on their own, and on other occasions, he’s had seizures that would have taken his life had someone not been there to help him.”
‘Little People, Big World’ Is Returning to TLC
The family has changed since “Little People, Big World” first debuted in 2006, but they’re continuing with the show.
Season 22, slated to premiere on May 11, 2021, will focus on Matt running the family’s Oregon farm during the coronavirus pandemic and without the help of Amy, as noted by Oregon Live. The couple is now officially divorced and both have moved on with other partners.
This season is going to focus on Amy’s engagement to fiancé Chris Marek and planning their wedding on the farm with Matt’s help.
Another big storyline revolves around Zack — who now has a family of his own — and whether he wants to help his father run the farm. Zack now has two children of his own who may need to undergo corrective surgeries, just as he, his father, and his uncle did as children.
Watch season 22 of “Little People, Big World” when it airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. Eastern time on TLC to find out what happens next.