Maia Hightower was the daughter of ESPN radio host and former NFL player Keyshawn Johnson. She was found dead in California at age 25.
Her dad revealed Maia’s death on Twitter. The cause of death was not released by Johnson.
“It is with incredible sadness that I have to share the news about the passing of my beautiful Daughter Maia. Maia, as my first born child, has been the joy of my, and her Mother Shikiri’s, life,” Keyshawn Johnson wrote on Twitter on March 16, 2021.
Heavy determined that Maia was found dead at her residence in Berkeley, California, on March 15, 2021. That’s according to the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau. That office told Heavy her cause of death is “undetermined” as it’s under investigation. Some people are referring to her as Maia Johnson, but her name on Facebook is Maia Hightower, the last name of her mother.
Here’s what you need to know:
Maia’s Dad Wrote That She Was a ‘Constant Beloved Presence’ for Her Parents
Maia was the daughter of Keyshawn Johnson and his first wife, Shikiri Hightower-Gaskin.
“She came into our lives just as we were both coming of age as adults and has been a constant beloved presence for both of us. We are heartbroken and devastated by her loss. Shikiri, Maia’s siblings, our family and me appreciate your thoughts and prayers at this difficult time,” he wrote on Twitter.
He concluded, “We also all appreciate your support and respect for our privacy as we move forward. Thank you all, God Bless. Keyshawn Johnson, Sr. 🙏🏾” Keyshawn did not reveal the circumstances or cause of his daughter’s untimely death.
Maia’s Brother Posted a Tribute to Her on Instagram
On Instagram, Keyshawn Johnson Jr., Maia’s brother, posted a tribute post to her. He wrote,
Yesterday, I lost the one person in my life that is full blood. I lost my big sister Maia. Maia was undoubtedly my biggest role model growing up. I wanted to be nothing but a clone of her. I always thought she was the coolest person, had the coolest clothes, listened to the best music. I dont know what I’m going to do without you. I just wish we were as close as we used to be. I’m sorry for that and I love you so much. I will see you soon 👼🏽💙 #LLMHJ
Keyshawn Johnson has four living children. According to The New York Post, Johnson and Shikiri Hightower “were married from 1998 to 2002.” Their son, Keyshawn Johnson Jr., is 22. Johnson is remarried to wife Jennifer Conrad with whom he has children London, Shyla, and Vance, according to The Post.
On Facebook, Maia wrote about her brother, saying, “All you la folks come out and see my little brother Keyshawn Johnson ball out harder than anyone haha. And yes I did say it dad he is going to beat all your records haha but both #soontobehalloffame I love you youngin.”
Maia Was From the Oakland Area
On Facebook, Maia went by the name Maia Hightower. She called herself “Herb Grower/ceo at Royal Connections” and says she was single, from Los Angeles, and living in Oakland, California. She wrote that she went to Hyde School.
People started filling up her comment thread with tributes. “I miss you so much already maia i cant believe this is actually happening. Rest easy angel💜” wrote one man.
“I loved spending every second I had with you M, we always had fun. I’m glad you opened up to me. I forever love you,” wrote another.
Her mother posted a photo of herself with Maia on Facebook. A man wrote on Facebook, “Prayer warriors, you are needed ! Woke up to horrible news, please say a prayer for my friend Shikiri Hightower-Gaskin and family for the lost of their child. Shakiri is a high school friend and a sweetheart who is always smiling. Lord I ask you to cover this family as they mourn the loss of their oldest child Maia. My heart breaks for her , Keyshawn and the entire family.💔💔💔💔💔😪😪😪🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽.”
Maia’s Mother Was a Sophomore in College When Maia Was Born
Shikiri wrote a tribute to her daughter on Instagram in 2017. It reads,
22 years ago, your dad and I proudly brought you into this world. I was 19, a sophomore at USC, your dad was 22, like you are today. We were so young, wanting nothing more than to be your parents. Four months later, your dad became the number one draft pick, our lives were forever changed. We went from inconspicuously driving you around campus in a beat up used Honda to life in a fish bowl, all eyes on us, without us truly understanding what that meant. Our once private dysfunction was suddenly on blast, all of it playing out as folk’s entertainment.
My fearless, beautiful, intelligent, well-traveled, resourceful daughter, my mini-me, throughout our journey, we literally have been growing up, figuring life out, together. Have we made mistakes? Absolutely, but I believe God allows us to make mistakes, for us to learn, to understand how to win. And my precious child, with you plus God, that’s all you’ll continue to do, win, even when it feels like you’re losing. For every pain, remember, it’s strengthening you, making you better, stronger. Continue to follow your light. You are destined for greatness. Happy 22nd birthday Maia!!! I love you,
#MyFirstBorn #HappyBirthday #grateful #blessed