MMA and boxing world rallies around Francis Ngannou after heartbreaking family revelation

Ngannou revealed his 15-month-old son Kobe has tragically passed away.

Former UFC heavyweight champion turned professional boxer, Francis Ngannou, has announced his 15-month-old son Kobe has tragically passed away. The 37-year-old who recently fought both Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, took to X to confirm the heartbreaking news.

In a statement to social media, Ngannou wrote: "Too soon to leave but yet he’s gone. My little boy, my mate, my partner Kobe was full of life and joy. Now, he’s laying without life. I shouted his name over and over but he’s not responding.

“How do you deal with such a thing? How can you live with it? Please help me if you have any idea because I really don’t know what to do and how to deal with this.”

Pictured Francis Ngannou
Francis Ngannou has announced his 15-month-old son Kobe has tragically passed away. Image: Getty

The news came hours after Ngannou took to social media to write: "What’s the purpose of life if what we’re fighting tooth and nail to get away from is what finally hit us the hardest!? Why is life so unfair and merciless? Why does life always take what we don’t have? I’m f***ing tired."

Very little is known about Ngannou's private life, with the heavyweight boxer keeping his family out of the spotlight. Even who Ngannou's son's mother is unknown. Following the news of his son's death, fans and fellow fighters were quick to send their well-wishes to the boxer.

UFC 270 heavyweight world champion Cameroon's Francis Ngannou (C) celebrates victory over France's Ciryl Gane after their fight for the heavyweight title at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on January 22, 2022. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
Ngannou was the UFC heavyweight champion between 2020 and 2023.

UFC star Conor Mcgregor wrote: "Absolutely gutted reading this Francis! I can only imagine the pain you are in right now I am so sorry hearing this news. I pray God has the best and safest place in heaven for him until you meet again...I am so sorry to hear of your loss Francis, my prayers are with you and your family at this time."

While former Australian UFC champion Alexander Volkanovski also passed on his sympathies writing: "I am sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family".

Ngannou ruled as the UFC heavyweight champion between 2020 and 2023 before he left to pursue a career in boxing. In his boxing debut in October last year, he gave Tyson Fury an almighty scare when he dropped the Brit in the fifth round - before narrowly losing on points in controversial fashion.

That fight was his first as a professional boxer and helped propel the UFC champion-turned-boxer into superstardom. He most recently lost to Anthony Joshua in his second professional bout last month.

Ngannou's rise to fame came from humble beginnings. He grew up in extreme poverty in his hometown of Batie in Cameroon. At age nine, Ngannou was working alongside his 11-year-old brother to make ends meet for his family.


At 26, Ngannou moved to France without a dime to his name to escape poverty and try to start a new life. Homeless after moving to Europe, he met coach Didier Carmont, who let him train and sleep at his boxing gym in France free of charge.

There he was first introduced to MMA where he quickly became one of the biggest names in combat sport, largely due to his exceptional knockout power. Ngannou spent six years in the UFC where he knocked out the likes of heavyweight legend Stipe Miocic and beat French kickboxer Ciryl Gane before leaving to pursue a boxing career.