John Henry Williams, the son of baseball Hall of Famer Ted Williams who pushed to have his father's body frozen and his DNA preserved, has died of leukemia in a hospital in Los Angeles, an attorney for Ted Williams' family announced Sunday in Boston. He was 35.
Peter Sutton said John Henry Williams died late Saturday at UCLA Medical Center with family members at his bedside. Sutton said sister Claudia Williams and Eric Abel, an attorney for John Henry Williams, informed him of the death by phone.
A spokeswoman at UCLA Medical Center could not immediately confirm whether John Henry Williams was a patient there.
Williams said in October that he had been diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia that month at UCLA Medical Center. He said at the time that he had already started chemotherapy.
In December, he underwent a bone marrow transplant, using a donation from Claudia, his younger sister.
"On behalf of all of us with the Boston Red Sox, we extend our condolences to the John Henry Williams family," Red Sox principal owner John Henry said.
"It is particularly sad that leukemia claimed his life, for his father was a pioneer in the development of the Jimmy Fund, which has made such remarkable progress in the fight against cancer."
Ted Williams' brother, Danny Williams, also died of leukemia, at the age of 39.
Ted Williams died July 5, 2002, of heart failure at the age of 83. John Henry Williams had his father's body taken from a funeral home in Florida to an Arizona cryonics lab for freezing, with the apparent goal of preserving his DNA for future use. He and Claudia Williams said they signed a handwritten pact with their father in 2000 agreeing that their bodies would be frozen.
They were sued by their half sister, Bobby-Jo Ferrell, who insisted that Ted Williams had wanted to be cremated. Ferrell dropped her objections in December 2002.
Sutton, the Williams family lawyer, declined comment when asked if John Henry Williams had still intended to pursue cryonics for himself. A message left for Joe Waynick, the CEO of Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Ariz., was not immediately returned. Alcor reportedly has Ted Williams' body, although the company has not confirmed that.
Ted Williams finished with a .344 career average and was the last major leaguer to bat over .400, when he hit .406 in 1941.
John Henry Williams made attempts over the past few seasons to follow in his father's footsteps, playing for minor league and independent teams.
Williams' survivors include his sister and half sister.