What Happened To Whoopi Goldberg's Brother Is So Tragic

"Bits and Pieces: My Mother, My Brother, and Me" gives fans an intimate glimpse into the truth about Whoopi Goldberg. The memoir, which was released in May 2024, covers everything from Goldberg's tragic upbringing to her hilarious use of the term "hit and run" (via BET) while describing scandalous details in Goldberg's personal life. However, the book mainly focuses on her relationships with her late mother, Emma Harris, and Goldberg's late brother, Clyde K. Johnson. In fact, losing both of them inspired her to write the book. "Because the two most magnificent people I've ever known were my mother Emma, and my brother, Clyde, and they had almost everything to do with how I became the person I am," the actor wrote about her decision to pen the candid memoir.

When Goldberg's mother died from a stroke on August 29, 2010, "The View" co-host announced the sad news during an episode of the daytime talk show where she opened up about her initial reaction. "I'm not sad, because she had a great time," Goldberg said (via HuffPost). "My mother was a great adventure person, so she loved to go on adventures and my brother and I made sure that her life was full and rich." She then referenced her beloved brother who was still alive at the time, "I think I'm just sad sometimes that I think, 'Who will love me the way that she did?' But I realize that my brother and I have each other and so we're ok." As Goldberg revealed in her book, she leaned on Johnson following their mother's death. Sadly, he would die five years later.

Whoopi Goldberg's brother had a brain aneurysm

Whoopi Goldberg lost her brother, Clyde Johnson, in an equally tragic manner. Johnson died in 2015 from a brain aneurysm at the age of 65 years old. Just as she did with her mother, the EGOT winner announced Johnson's death during a live taping of "The View," after taking a brief break. During the segment, Goldberg said, "Thank you for all of the outpouring of sympathy." She continued, "My brother, Clyde Johnson was an amazing cat. You guys met him. But he was the funny one of the family. He and my mother, together, were insane." Goldberg also thanked the people at the mortuary who respectfully helped assist with her brother's burial, after experiencing poor treatment from a different company. 

Johnson's death hit Goldberg especially hard and impacted her ability to recall memories. "I couldn't remember anything after my brother passed," Goldberg shared with People in May 2024. "I don't know why, but for some reason in my head, my brother's only been gone five years and my mom's been gone seven. It's not so, my mom's been gone 16 years and my brother's been gone 11." (To drive home Whoopi's point, at the time of the interview, her mom actually died 14 years ago and her brother had been gone for nine.) Goldberg's limited memory of her family also inspired her to write "Bits and Pieces." She continued, "I just thought, 'Wow, if you can't keep how they've been gone together, it's no wonder you can't remember anything ... So just maybe you should just write some stuff down, see what happens if you do that.'"

How Whoopi Goldberg honors her brother's memory

In addition to memorializing her brother in her memoir, Whoopi Goldberg has honored his memory by sharing unknown tidbits about Clyde Johnson's life. For example, while speaking with NPR, Goldberg revealed that her late brother was something of a ladies man. "Girl –- oh, my God. We had, like, four different services for him ..." said Goldberg. "Because my brother loved to travel. He loved to travel, so -– and he loved to drive. When I tell you that two or three women per memorial ..." However, she also exalted his character. "I'm telling you, he was — not only was he remarkable. He's a really great man, you know? He's the standard of man that you want. You want somebody who can hear you."

Goldberg has also honored Johnson on "The View." In May 2024, Goldberg lit up as she opened up about what made him special. "He was pretty good, he was pretty cool, my brother..." said Goldberg in a clip posted to Facebook. "My brother had theme music, he was that cool," she continued. Goldberg also spoke about his popularity with women. "Women loved him. Love him. They would ... He loved them back, man. He was a lot. He was fun." Goldberg also makes it a point to celebrate Johnson's birthday on Instagram. "Today is my big brother Clyde's birthday and I miss him. Happy birthday bro!" Goldberg wrote on October 17, 2023 alongside a photo of her beloved brother at a birthday party.