Meadows was first diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at age 39 in 2016. Melvin’s brother, who worked as a Baptist minister and funeral home director in Spartanburg, South Carolina, died from complications of the illness on December 9, 2020.
Melvin shared the tragic news on Instagram on Saturday afternoon. He sent his love and well-wishes to his sister-in-law, Angela, and his two nieces, Addie and Lawson.
We lost our older brother this week. Lawrence Meadows was a husband (to Angela, his childhood sweetheart), father (to Addie, 11 and Lawson, 7) Baptist minister, entrepreneur, and one of the best human beings you would’ve ever known. Colon cancer robbed him and us of so much. He was diagnosed at 39. He died Wednesday at 43. He spent a fair amount of time over the past few years raising awareness about the disease. We’ll be keeping up that fight. We love you, bro.
Melvin Shared His Brother’s Diagnosis on ‘TODAY’ in 2017
Following his brother’s diagnosis, Melvin became an outspoken advocate to raise awareness about colon cancer, the same disease which took the life of actor Chadwick Boseman in August.
Melvin told TODAY show viewers in 2017 that while doctors were removing a baseball-sized tumor from his abdomen in 2016, they discovered that the cancer had already spread throughout his body.
“You never want to hear of anyone getting a cancer diagnosis,” Melvin said. “It really knocked me off my feet. All his life he’s been active and healthy,” noting that his brother never partied, drank, or smoked.
Meadows traveled back forth every other week from South Carolina to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for chemotherapy treatments. Dr. Scott Kopetz, who was Meadow’s oncologist, told TODAY that he was seeing a surge in patients under the age of 45 getting diagnosed with colon cancer, which according to the America Cancer Society, is the third most common cancer in America.
Kopetz also noted that Black people are twice as likely to develop early-onset colon cancer than White people, and unfortunately, there is no cure. But early detection is key to prevent cancer from spreading.
“We recommend that relatives of patients diagnosed with colon cancer have their first screening colonoscopy done 10 years before the age of onset, so (in Craig Melvin’s case it would be) 29,” Kopetz said. “So as soon as you hit 29, it’s time to get a colonoscopy.”
‘TODAY’ Show Co-hosts, Friends & Fans Filled Melvin’s Social Media With Condolences
After Melvin shared the news on Saturday, his comments section filled with messages of condolences from fans, friends, and his TODAY show co-hosts. Hoda Kotbe wrote, “Love you Crais… lets all keep up the fight,” while NBC News reporter Morgan K Radford commented, “I’m so sorry, Craig. Praying that you and your family feel the love and the light that is surrounding you during this difficult time. May his memory be a blessing.
As stated in Meadow’s obituary, “In lieu of flowers donate to his children education fund care of Angela Meadows Wells Fargo.”