The Real Housewives of Orange County alum Gretchen Rossi has been with fiance Slade Smiley for years.
In addition to their own daughter, she is stepmother to his son, Grayson Smiley-Arroyo.
For years, he fought for his life against a diffuse fibrillary astrocytoma — an inoperable brain tumor.
This week, Grayson passed away at 22. Our hearts go out to his loved ones as they mourn this unbearable loss.
Michelle Arroyo, the mother of 22-year-old Grayson, took to Instagram on Tuesday evening to break this tragic news.
“I’m heart broken to share that my sweet Gray passed away Sunday night,” she began.
“It was very unexpected,” Michelle shared, “as last week he had CSF drawn from his shunts and they adjusted the valve setting of his shunt and he was doing much better.”
“We were still struggling with his diarrhea and I was giving him potassium 3 times a day,” Michelle shared, “because it was dropping so low.”
She wrote: “His heart stopped here at home and I performed chest compressions to get it going until the paramedics arrived and took over.”
Michelle added: “When he left for the hospital he looked good and was breathing on his own, but his heart gave out again at the hospital.”
“I don’t have all the answers now,” Michelle admitted. “But I do know that the last few months with fevers, infection, and low potassium most likely took a toll on my sweet boys heart.”
She expressed that “I’m still in shock and going through the motions of dealing with all the details.”
“I know Gray is playing cards with Gramma and playing Trouble with our beloved Diane,” Michelle concluded. “His dog Mo is right at his side as he never left him.”
Two hours later, Gretchen Rossi took to Instagram to post a mournful tribute of her own.
“Our rational minds told us this day might come,” the RHOC alum began, “but our hearts always held onto the hope that this day would not come to fruition.”
Gretchen wrote: “We are beyond devastated and heartbroken over the loss of Gray.”
“Grayson Arroyo-Smiley was such a special human being,” Gretchen affirmed. “He was an Angel on this earth and an incredible warrior…a warrior like no one has ever seen before.”
She praised: “He fought everyday through his pain and discomfort to find joy in the smallest of things.”
Gretchen then added that “He was always singing & dancing & laughing despite his circumstances. He was a true beacon of light and hope.”
“Although his life was cut short on earth he made an incredible impact on so many people,” Gretchen acknowledged.
“The Lord knew his life had purpose and would touch many along the way,” she expressed. “We are forever grateful for the many lessons learned from this little man, and will miss his beautiful spirit immensely.”
She then commented: “May the Lord hold him in his hands, renew his broken body, and give him life again.”
“This isn’t goodbye but rather see you soon little man…..We love you Grayson,” Gretchen affirmed.
“You will forever be in our hearts Love your Dad, Gretchen & your sister Skylar Gray,” she wrote.
Then, addressing not her late stepson but her fans and followers, Gretchen concluded: “(Please respect our privacy as we mourn this unbearable loss)”