Nashville father dies from rare brain disease linked to Mad Cow

Local News

Chances are one in a million, but a Nashville man has died from the human form of mad cow disease according to his wife.

Thursday marks one week since Tony Gibson lost his fight with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease or CJD, Danielle Gibson told News 2.

She shared a video of her singing Amazing Grace to Tony in his assisted living room last week, one day before he died.

“That was what brought him to life, he loved music,” Danielle cried. 

Just last year she says they were living a normal, happy life with their 4 children, two sets of twins.

“Everything was perfect, he had just got a new job and he came home from work one day and said I feel like I have been hit in the head.” 

The next week, Danielle says his health started deteriorating quickly.

“I remember him telling me my sense of direction is gone.” 

Danielle had to label the rooms in their home so Tony could find his way around, but eventually she says Tony could no longer read, he began hallucinating and in the end, couldn’t eat or speak.

“It was totally devastating to watch and we couldn’t figure out what it was,” she said. 

They visited a number of doctors, she said some thought he had PTSD while others thought Dementia. 

“They did every test possible on him.” 

After a month at Vanderbilt hospital, Danielle says doctors there diagnosed him with CJD with only months to live. 

“With this disease, it’s so aggressive, you know there is no treatment, no cure, no nothing.” 

Tony spent his last few months in an assisted living facility. In the end, only reacting to his wife’s sweet songs. 

“As I started singing to him he just lit up and you could see him just shake his head like yes this is so good,” Danielle cried. 

CJD comes in 2 forms, according to doctors at Vanderbilt. The standard form can be genetic or sporadic and the mad cow variant can be acquired through ingestion of beef products that have been contaminated.

Danielle says her husband hadn’t traveled out of the country and they have no clue how he contracted it.

A Gofundme has been set up to help the Gibson family. 

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