John Kelly, the ‘Gentle Giant’ Half of Viral TikTok Duo Tex and John, Dies Suddenly
Tex Kelly and his father, John, were a rare kind of comedic duo on TikTok, but now the younger of the two will have to continue alone. John Kelly has died, according to posts shared on Instagram and TikTok.
His death was sudden and unexpected, and a note at a GoFundMe reveals that the family is reeling.
"You’ll always be my hero dad, I love and miss you so much," Tex writes on Instagram, beginning a lengthy caption that attempts to summarize their relationship and timeline all at once. A video shared on June 29, prior to Tex's move to Los Angeles, is a good place to learn more about their history together:
Nearly three million people sought out Tex and John videos, which relied on the pair's size and age differences. At times the foil, at times the aggressor, John Kelly was always the straight man on camera. Tex would occasionally try to stand up to his old man, and while it never went well for him, no harm was done, and fans got a good laugh:
While not his biological son, Tex quickly came to know John as "Dad" and also a best friend. He was four years old when he met John, when he, along with his brother, were introduced by their mom. They'd go on to become a traditional family unit, with John sacrificing everything to make sure they remained close.
"I remember the first time I called you dad," Tex writes, "I was so scared, your face was so shocked and happy. Dad you taught how me to read, how to throw a ball, to always love and work hard, and there’s so many lessons learned that I’ll carry my head up high with because of you. You worked so incredibly hard so we could have a good life."
The final video from the account before John's death came on July 27. The GoFundMe indicates that he had been hospitalized, leaving behind some large bills. The 6-foot, 6-inch patriarch was often referred to as a "bear" or a "grizzly bear," but also as a "gentle giant" by his son.
Some of the most-viewed videos on their page (which was started in December) aren't humorous in nature at all, but loving appreciations from son to father.
Tex Kelly chose Zac Brown Band's "My Old Man" to pay tribute to his dad. A cause of death is unknown.
It's been a particularly sad week for fans of country-leaning stars on TikTok. Timbo the Redneck's death was announced less than one week ago.