How Gary Smalley, the Famous Family Counselor, Died of a Heart Condition

Gary Smalley was a well-known author and speaker on family relationships from a Christian perspective. He wrote more than 60 books and sold over 6 million copies. He also appeared on popular TV shows such as “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, “Larry King Live”, and “NBC Today Show”. He was the founder and president of the Smalley Relationship Center, a ministry that helped thousands of couples and families improve their communication and intimacy. He died on March 6, 2016, at the age of 75. What was the cause of his death? How did he impact the lives of many people? This article will explore these questions and more.

The Heart Problem That Led to His Death

According to Baptist Press, a cause of death for Smalley had not been reported at their mid-afternoon deadline on March 8, 2016. However, his son Greg Smalley, who is the vice president of marriage ministries at Focus on the Family, revealed some details about his father’s health condition in an interview with Jim Daly, the president of Focus on the Family.

Greg Smalley said that his father had a heart attack in 2003, which led to a quadruple bypass surgery. He also had an autoimmune disease called IgA nephropathy, which attacked his kidneys and caused them to fail. He received a kidney transplant from his other son Michael in 2003. However, the heart surgery put too much pressure on the kidney, and the disease re-emerged. Greg Smalley said that his father had been on dialysis for the last two years of his life.

He also said that his father had another heart attack in January 2016, which damaged his heart further. He was hospitalized for several weeks and underwent another surgery to implant a device that would help his heart pump blood. However, he developed an infection and had to be put on a ventilator. He never recovered from that and passed away peacefully on March 6, 2016.

The Legacy He Left Behind

Gary Smalley was not only a successful author and speaker, but also a humble and authentic person who admitted his own mistakes and struggles as a husband and father. He shared his personal stories and insights with humor and grace, and inspired many people to improve their relationships with God and others.

He was also a faithful and loving husband to his wife Norma for 52 years, and a devoted father to his three children and several grandchildren. He was known for his generosity and kindness, as well as his passion for helping people find freedom from pornography and other sexual sins.


Gary Smalley was a remarkable man who dedicated his life to helping people build healthy and happy relationships. He touched the lives of millions of people with his wisdom, humor, honesty, and faith. He died of a heart condition that he battled for many years, but he left behind a legacy that will live on through his family, friends, colleagues, and followers. He was a blessing to many and will be greatly missed.

Doms Desk

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