Jon DeChambeau, father of Bryson DeChambeau, has died at age 63.
Bryson DeChambeau announced the heartbreaking news Saturday afternoon via social media, saying, “Love you Dad. I’m sad to see you go, but you’ve been through a lot of pain in this life. I’m so glad you’re at peace. Now you can be with me and watch me in every event I play. Thank you for being an amazing father and see you in the next life.”
The cause of death is unknown, although Jon DeChambeau struggled with diabetes for years after being diagnosed in the early 1990s. The disease caused both of his kidneys to fail in 2014, but through Bryson’s 2015 US Amateur win , he was reconnected with a high school golf teammate, who ended up donating a kidney to Jon in March 2017.
A year before the donation of Ron Bankofier, who hadn’t spoken to Jon in 27 years before a two-hour phone conversation in the summer of 2015 eventually led to the gift of life, Jon’s health was failing. He said in 2016 that he gained 14 pounds of toxin and net weight when the peritoneal dialysis he was on stopped working.
“It was a difficult time,” Bryson said in 2018.
However, Jon was able to attend his son’s Masters debut in April 2016, undergoing rounds of hemodialysis in between his son’s rounds of Augusta National. As Jon, who had just had foot surgery, rode around in a powered wheelchair, Bryson won amateur bass honors and a week later turned pro.
“He hasn’t seen a golf tournament since the US Amateur, and was taken to it just for one day to watch the show. [championship] game,” Bryson said that week in Augusta. “Before that, he couldn’t see me play, honestly, not in college or anything. But for him to be here for this moment, it’s special. And that suffocates me.”
Still, Jon remained on the list for a new kidney for almost a year longer.
“The whole kidney process, you’re scared,” Jon told Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis in 2018. Lewis then asked, “Afraid of what?” To which Jon replied, “Dying, that I wouldn’t be around…”
He then became too emotional to finish his thoughts.
But on March 8, 2017, after three and a half years since starting dialysis, Jon received his kidney from Bankofier while Bryson competed in the Valspar Championship.
“The ability for someone to give part of their body to keep another person alive is amazing, and Ron did it,” said Bryson. “I can’t pay him for keeping my father alive.”
Jon added: “I would sit down and start thinking, Wow, I’m going to live again and I’m going to follow Bryson when he’s playing on the Tour. Things that I thought were going away from me and would never be a part of me again have come alive again.”
A few months after Jon’s transplant, Bryson won the John Deere Classic for his first of eight PGA Tour wins. He won a US Open in 2020, reached fourth place in the world rankings and now plays for LIV Golf as he has become one of the most notable players in the sport.
Although Jon has had his left leg amputated in recent years and has continued to struggle with the debilitating disease, he has been able to witness, in person or on television, many of his son’s best moments in this game, which as a father – and former professional golfer, – who taught his son the game, meant everything to him.
The feeling has been mutual.
A few years ago, Bryson shared this Father’s Day message: “Happy Father’s Day to my dad, who always pushed me further than I thought I could go and believed in me to see this.”