‘Little People Big World’: Matt Roloff Talks About Painful Childhood With Dead Brother Josh

Little PeopleBig World’s patriarch Matt Roloff has had a difficult childhood, and some of it can be attributed to health problems caused by his dwarfism. But what made his childhood life even more difficult is the constant heartbreak he felt in seeing his brothers suffer from illnesses and the complications that come with them.

In an exclusive interview with Radar Online, Matt Roloff, 55, revealed that he and his brothers underwent a combined thirty-odd surgeries. His younger brother, Josh, eventually died of lung and heart problems in 1999 at age 34.

Seeing his parents, Ron and Peggy, witness the suffering of their children through the years only added to Matt Roloff’s pain.

“It must do something to your sense of compassion to watch your children go through thirty-odd surgeries,” Matt wrote of his parents. “It certainly had an effect on my father. He and mom have had to go through my surgeries, Sam’s surgeries, and Josh’s surgeries, including one in which he was operated on for a brain abscess that could have — the doctors say should have — killed him.”

Matt also wrote that his life at home didn’t feel much different from being in the hospital, as it was always obvious that “sick kids lived” in the Roloff residence.

“Even when everyone was home from the hospital, there was always evidence that sick kids lived there,” he described of his home. “There were Sam and me in our body casts and Josh breathing from an oxygen tank.”

Matt wrote that he always felt lonely when he was just 9-years old because he didn’t have enough opportunities to be with family and friends on account of being in the hospital most of the time.

Matt Roloff’s brother Joshua met his untimely death in 1999 due to health complications caused by his dwarfism. As revealed by Radar Online a few days ago, Joshua had his first brush with death not long after he was born due to severe heart and lung problems — the same health issues that caused his death after more than thirty years. Matt was only two years old at the time.

“When Joshua was born — about two weeks before Christmas in 1964, when I was over two years old — my parents faced more childbirth trauma,” Matt wrote in his memoir, Against Tall Odds: Being A David In A Goliath World. “Only this time it was the uncertainty over whether their new baby would ever make it out of the hospital alive.”

Matt described how he and Joshua spent years going back and forth to the hospital. After so many surgeries, including one for brain abscess treatment (which almost killed him) and another one for scoliosis, Josh’s condition hadn’t improved.

Matt Roloff’s son, Zach, also suffered health complications caused by dwarfism and underwent seven surgeries as a result. When Zac was a child, he almost died due to excess fluid in his brain. Matt’s youngest son, Jacob, also underwent surgery after he was “clonked” by a trebuchet at the Roloff farm.

Despite his painful experiences growing up, Matt Roloff has many good reasons to smile these days. The Little People Big World star has become a grandpa twice over, the first one to Zach and Tori Roloff’s 4-month old son Jackson and the most recent one to Ember, Jeremy and Audrey Roloff’s newborn girl.


[Featured Image by Matt Roloff/Instagram]