Ronald Williams, Also Known as 'TikTok Granddad,' Has Died at the Age of 79


Mar. 25 2021, Updated 2:27 p.m. ET

For much of its life, TikTok has been known as a platform primarily for young people. Although that stereotype may be true in general, that doesn't mean that there aren't some older folks who take advantage of the social media site. One of the oldest users who became a star through his use of the platform was Ronald Williams, who is now trending for sad reasons. 

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What happened to Ronald Williams?

Ronald was best known on TikTok for creating viral videos with the help of his grandson Ryan Adams. He amassed more than 8.8 million followers on the site, and became known as the "TikTok Granddad." He even started to call his followers his "grandkids." After his success on TikTok, he broadened his reach to other platforms like Instagram and YouTube. 

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Unfortunately, Ryan took to TikTok this week to announce that his grandfather had died. He posted a montage of clips and photos of his grandfather, and they were accompanied by the text: “Thanks for the good times. Ronald Williams will never be forgotten. RIP Grandpa.” 

Ryan then posted an additional video in which he spoke more personally about his grandfather and how much he had enjoyed making videos. 

“What did my grandpa mean to you? How did he impact your life? What is that one reason why you press that follow button?” Ryan asked, encouraging his followers to memorialize his grandfather. Ryan then spoke about his time with Ronald, and how much infectious his optimistic outlook on life was for those around him. 

 “My grandpa meant so much to me," he said. "He taught me how to be myself." 

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"He broke my silence," he continued. "Nothing would bother this man. He was full of joy. His soul is the purest I’ve ever seen in my life. He was my best friend. He’s the best grandpa I could ever ask for and he’s in a better place where he’s not in pain anymore." 

“He loved every single one of you. He called you his grandkids for a reason because he cared about you a lot. You were happy to see him on his videos and you made him happy.” 

Source: TikTok
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What was Ronald Williams' cause of death?

In his tributes to his grandpa's life, Ryan didn't explain what had caused his grandpa's death. In late February, though, he announced that both he and his grandpa would temporarily be stepping away from TikTok because of his grandfather's health. 

“I don’t want to get into too much detail but just keep him in your prayers,” he said at the time. Ryan also said that his grandfather had been through a number of procedures in the hospital. 

Fans of Ronald's are likely to speculate about his cause of death because Ryan did not explain exactly how he died. Instead, Ryan emphasized how his grandfather had lived, and the important lessons that he had personally learned from the man. Ronald may have been a viral sensation online, but he also beloved by his family, and that's what matters more in the wake of this news. 

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