What Happened To Whoopi Goldberg's Brother? Inside The View Star's Tragic Loss

In May 2015, when Whoopi Goldberg was away from her talk show "The View" for almost a week, Vanity Fair claimed it had to do with the "Sister Act" star butting heads with then-co-host Rosie O'Donnell — but that wasn't the reason for her absence. In fact, it had nothing to do with the show and everything to do with her family, which "The View" communicated on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The sad reality was Goldberg's brother, Clyde K. Johnson, died of a brain aneurysm on May 11, 2015, at the age of 66, which she talked about upon her return to "The View." "Thank you for all of the outpouring of sympathy," Goldberg told the studio and TV audience. "My brother, Clyde Johnson, was an amazing cat ... He was the funny one of the family. He and my mother together were insane." 

Sadly, it was far from the first time the actor-turned-talk show host faced tragedy in her life. Her mother, Emma Harris, died of a stroke in 2010. When speaking about her brother on "The View," Goldberg shared a photo of him. It was a picture of the day they memorialized their mother at Disney World. The "Ghost" actor hasn't spoken much about Johnson or his death through the years but she wrote about him in her memoir, "Bits and Pieces: My Mother, My Brother, and Me," released on May 7, 2024, offering a closer look at the tragic loss of her brother and how he lost his life.

Whoopi Goldberg rushed to her brother's side

Unlike the Vanity Fair article that said Whoopi Goldberg's week-long absence from "The View" had to do with behind-the-scenes drama, the Daily Mail had it right, reporting that it was a family issue. More specifically, on the same day the Vanity Fair story was published, the British publication reported that she rushed to California to be by her brother Clyde K. Johnson's side. 

So, what exactly is a brain aneurysm and how does it develop? According to Mount Sinai, "An aneurysm is a weak area in the wall of a blood vessel that causes the blood vessel to bulge or balloon out. When an aneurysm occurs in a blood vessel of the brain, it is called an intracranial aneurysm. These usually occur in the part of the brain called the cerebrum and are called a cerebral aneurysm." 

In Johnson's case, the details are scarce, but Johns Hopkins Medicine says lifestyle, such as smoking tobacco and having high blood pressure, can raise one's chances of experiencing the condition. Genetics can also play a factor, though neither of those causes have been attached to Johnson. But in 2010, when Goldberg was in London doing a musical based on her 1992 film "Sister Act," she received a call from her brother about their mother suffering an aneurysm, which put her on life support. So it's not clear if family history had anything to do with Johnson's condition. 

Whoopi Goldberg celebrated her brother on The View

Outside of her memoir and briefly talking about him on "The View," Whoopi Goldberg hasn't spoken a whole lot about her brother Clyde K. Johnson's death, but she honored him in an Instagram photo on his birthday, October 17, in 2023. "Today is my big brother Clyde's birthday and I miss him. Happy birthday bro!," wrote Goldberg, real name Caryn Johnson. The post received tens of thousands of likes and a long list of comments. "May the Heavens and the Universe shine brighter for your brother's special borneday. Much respect ," one person wrote, while another stated, "His love stays with you Whoopi."

Then nearly one month after posting that sweet Instagram photo of her brother, Goldberg spoke of him while celebrating her 68th birthday on "The View," saying how lucky she felt to reach that age. "I'm older than my brother was. I just feel I should celebrate and have a good time for all those folks who didn't get to get here," Goldberg said.

Goldberg also mentioned her brother in a 2024 interview with "CBS Sunday Morning," which took place at her vacation home on the Italian island of Sardinia. The Oscar-winner explained that she wished her late sibling and mother could have also enjoyed the house. "The more I wrote about my mom, I thought I would've loved to have given this to her. Same with my brother," she explained.