Joy Piccolo, the widow of running back Brian Piccolo of the Chicago Bears, remarried in 1973 and now goes by the name Joy Piccolo O’Connell. Brian died of embryonic cell cancer in 1970. He was 26.
Joy and Brian have three girls ranging in age from 1 1/2 to 4 years old when their father passed away. Along with her family and new husband, Rick, Joy raised money for a cancer research charity, the Brian Piccolo Fund. Over $5 million has been raised by the group. The survival rate of persons with the disease, such as the cyclist Lance Armstrong, was greatly improved by research. When Brian passed away, the sickness was always fatal.