Billy Bob Thornton Never Recovered From the Devastating Loss of His Brother

Pretty Honore - Author

Apr. 18 2023, Published 6:00 p.m. ET

Billy Bob Thornton looking sad while he poses for the press at the 64th Annual Golden Globe Awards.
Source: Getty Images

From his dating life to his health problems, American actor and singer-songwriter Billy Bob Thornton has lived his life under a microscope for the last several decades. Although he mostly lives his life off the grid these days, he hasn't shied away from sharing his personal life with the public. After all, his kids are on reality TV ...

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In the past, the father-of-four has been pretty candid about the loss of his brother, Jimmy Don Thornton, who passed away more than three decades ago. But what happened to him? Read on for details on his cause of death.

Billy Bob Thornton not smiling as he poses at the premiere of 'A Million Little Pieces'.
Source: Getty Images

Billy Bob Thornton

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What happened to Billy Bob Thornton’s brother? Details on Jimmy Don Thornton’s cause of death.

Billy was forced to cope with the loss of a loved one when Jimmy died of a heart condition in October 1988. Several years later, Billy still hasn’t recovered from the loss.

In a 2015 episode of Oprah Winfrey's Masterclass, the Goliath star recalled memories from his childhood. "I've only had a couple of times in my life when I was carefree ... For a couple of years I felt OK, which is very rare for me,” he said of his youth.

However, everything changed when his younger brother, who was only 30 years old at the time, passed away. Since then, Billy said that he’s “never been the same.”

"I have to really force myself to think that things are going to be OK in terms of worrying about my family, myself, or one of my friends," Billy shared. “There's a melancholy in me that never goes away. I'm 50 percent happy and 50 percent sad at any given moment.”

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"I don't want to forget what it felt like when he died, because he deserves [that remembrance]. That's how important he was to me. So, if I have to suffer and I have to be sad for the rest of my life, and if I have to be lonely without him... then that's the way I honor him,” he added.

In addition to Jimmy, Billy still has one living sibling. Here’s what we know about him!

Billy Bob Thornton has one living sibling.

Billy is the eldest of his siblings, with his surviving brother, John David Thornton, being more than 10 years his junior. Not much is known about John, given he has no digital footprint (that we know of, at least.)

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