Sportswriter Jonathan Tjarks passed away Saturday night following a battle with a rare form of cancer called a BCOR-CCNB3 sarcoma since April 2021. He was 34.
Jonathan leaves behind his wife, Melissa, and son, Jackson. Melissa announced his passing on the journal where she’s been providing updates during Jonathan’s battle. The post is titled “Home in heaven,” and she said Jonathan’s final day was spent with his family and two best friends.
“Jon was such a precious gift and I’m forever grateful for the years we had together,” Melissa wrote. “While God’s timing is not the timing we’d hoped for, we remind ourselves that God is still faithful and good. We have a lot of questions, but God will answer our questions in due time.”
Jonathan Tjarks, a beloved member of the Ringer community, has passed away. Please see here for details about how to support his family. https://t.co/db1VxVg3XY
— The Ringer (@ringer) September 11, 2022
Most of the post is focused on the way Jonathan loved others well — especially his family — to the very end of his life and the eternal hope their family has through their faith in God. Melissa also shared a passage from Ecclesiastes — one of Jonathan’s favorite books of the Bible — that talks about God’s perfect timing.
“I know when Jon met God face to face, he heard a hearty ‘well done, my good and faithful servant,'” Melissa said in the post, referring to Matthew 25:23. “Jon fought cancer so hard, but more importantly, Jon lived his life so well. We are so proud of him, and know God is even more proud. We can’t wait to be reunited with him in heaven one day. What a glorious day that will be.”
Jonathan worked at The Ringer, where he primarily covered the NBA. He wrote a piece titled “The Long Night of the Soul” about his diagnosis and the role his faith played when he was forced to face his own mortality. Outside of his work with The Ringer, Jonathan had a personal blog where he often wrote about the Bible. The most recent post is an extensive summary of the Book of Isaiah.
People from across the sports media world who knew Jonathan posted tributes on social media and shared what he meant to them.
Devastating news: We lost our friend Jonathan Tjarks to cancer last night. He was a fantastic basketball writer and thinker, and an even better family man and friend. He elevated everything we did.
His wife Melissa wrote about him here: https://t.co/wM6dC4PPFg
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) September 11, 2022
Rest in peace, Jonathan Tjarks. I loved that guy a lot and am a better person for having known him. His most recent piece on his fight with cancer is one of the most powerful things I've ever read.
I want to say more but I feel numb right now. https://t.co/zW87sL5Za1
— Ricky O'Donnell (@SBN_Ricky) September 11, 2022
Above all else, Tjarks was so full of love: for 7-footers with guard skills, for science fiction stories, for his family. The last text he sent me bragged about his wife.
Please spare a thought or prayer for his family. It's what he would do for you.https://t.co/5U2lCiP4Q1
— Zach Kram (@zachkram) September 11, 2022
the first time i met tjarks we had tacos and he told me about how he found god like we’d been close forever. what an original and special man. the kindest you could ever meet. he’ll be missed and remembered always. let’s help out his family here https://t.co/WBIl7KWLgU
— haley o'shaughnessy (@HaleyOSomething) September 11, 2022
Jonathan joined the Sports Spectrum Podcast in October 2021. During the interview, he talked about the ways his faith was being tested and the comfort it was providing him despite everything he was going through. He compared the foundational aspects of the Christian faith to a playbook for a sports team. Believing God is good when everything is going well is one thing. Continuing to trust in God in the midst of such difficult circumstances is an entirely different type of challenge.
“It’s almost like these are things you’ve been given as, like, a playbook for when your life gets hard,” he said on the podcast. “But when it actually does happen, you actually have to follow the plays, right? Because you don’t want to at that point. You don’t want to at all.”
Details regarding a celebration of Jonathan’s life are still being finalized. Donations to his family can be made through their GoFundMe account. Please join us in praying for the Tjarks family.
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