Tyler Perry’s Nephew Dies By Apparent Suicide While In Prison, Deepening The Star’s History Of Family Tragedy

Gavin Porter reportedly died in his cell at the Union Parish Detention Center on Saturday.

Tyler Perry attends the Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios.
Paul R. Giunta / Getty Images

Gavin Porter reportedly died in his cell at the Union Parish Detention Center on Saturday.

Tyler Perry‘s nephew has reportedly died in prison. Gavin Porter, Perry’s nephew, was 26 and died by apparent suicide in his cell at the Union Parish Detention Center in Farmerville, Louisiana on Saturday, according to The News-Star, a local paper in the area.

Union Parish Sheriff Dusty Gates said that Porter’s death came after he was involved in a fight with other inmates on Saturday. He also said that no foul play was suspected and that both the fight and Porter’s death are currently under investigation.

Porter was arrested in 2016 for the shooting death of his father, Gary Wayne Porter. The arrest came after the two allegedly got into a fight, according to reporting by WAFB. Gates did not provide any additional details on Porter’s death but did say that Porter pled guilty to a charge of manslaughter in April 2017. The sheriff reportedly did not have any additional information about the guilty plea that led to Porter’s sentence but said that Porter’s family had been notified of his death. Porter’s body was sent to Little Rock, Arkansas to be autopsied.

Perry has yet to speak out about his nephew’s death, but this isn’t the first time the I Can Do Bad All By Myself creator has been through a family tragedy. In 2017, a large fire destroyed his father Emmitt Perry’s home in Greensburg, Louisiana. Sheriff Nat Williams said at the time of the fire that Emmitt had heard popping and crackling sounds coming from his attic. Perry’s father made it out of the house before the fire consumed it.

The actor’s relationship with his father has been complex since Tyler was young. In October of 2019, Tyler told People that he had to forgive his father for childhood abuse and trauma before he could move on with his life.

“Holding on was hurting me more than him,” Tyler said.

The Diary of a Mad Black Woman creator also said that while he supports his father financially, the two don’t have any sort of relationship. He continued by explaining that holding on to the anger he had at his father wasn’t actually hurting Emmitt, but it was killing Tyler. The actor and writer also said that deciding to forgive his father took a tremendous amount of prayer, but was ultimately worth it.

“I’m telling you, the shift and forgiveness in me left me raw because it was a weight inside. Once I let it go, I literally felt lighter inside,” Tyler said.


If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.