Jamie Foxx's Younger Sister DeOndra Dixon Dies at 36: 'She Is in Heaven Now Dancing'
"I learned how to live," the actor said in 2018 of what his sister, DeOndra, had taught him
Jamie Foxx's little sister, DeOndra Dixon, has died. She was 36.
The Oscar-winning actor revealed the news on Instagram on Monday, sharing a black and white photo of himself with his sister. A source tells PEOPLE Dixon died on Monday, Oct. 19.
"My heart is shattered into a million pieces... my beautiful loving sister Deondra has transitioned...," Foxx wrote. "I say transitioned because she will always be alive... anyone who knew my sis... knew that she was a bright light..."
"I can’t tell you how many times we have had parties at the house where she has got on the dance floor and stolen the show... ," he continued, before joking, "Even gave her boyfriend @chrisbrownofficial a run for his money..."
"Well I know she is in heaven now dancing with her wings on...tho my pain is unbelievable I smile when I think of all of the great memories that she left me... my family... and her friends… from dancing in the blame it video… to Dancing on the Grammys… And becoming The ambassador to @globaldownsyndrome... from sliding down my stairs with a grin as wide as the rio grand... to serenading us with all of her music...," Foxx wrote. "Deondra you have left A hole in my heart... but I will fill it with all of the memories that you gave me ... I love you with every ounce of me... our family is shattered but we will put the pieces back together with your love... and y’all please keep my family in your prayers... 💔💔💔."
Dixon, who was born on Sept. 6, 1984, in Dallas, Texas, was named the Ambassador for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation in 2011.
Supported by her close-knit family, she began participating in the Special Olympics when she was in the 6th grade and competed for over nine years. After graduating from high school in Texas in 2002, Dixon moved to California to live with Foxx and the rest of her family.
In her biography on the foundation's website, Dixon said she was "born to dance," writing, “I want to be a professional dancer.”
“My brother has given me a chance to do some special things,” Dixon wrote. “I danced in his video “Blame It.” I’ve danced on stage at some of his concerts all over the country. And guess what? I’ve danced at the Grammy’s!”
For Foxx, it was love at first sight when he held baby DeOndra — whose parents are Foxx’s mother, Louise Annette Dixon, and his stepfather George Dixon — at 16.
"We weren’t trippin’ on the fact that she had Down syndrome," he told PEOPLE in November 2011. "We were trippin’ on the fact that she was cute. She was this little chocolate ball."
Foxx and Dixon spoke about their special bond — including her reign as the dance battle queen, a title the Oscar-winning actor ceded to her.
"I always lose the dance battle," Foxx told PEOPLE at the time. "Because she’s got the good moves."
"One thing people may not understand is that the person with special needs, the love that they give you is unfiltered," the actor said. "There is nothing in the way of them loving you and there is nothing in the way of them being upset with you either."
He added, "You really get the true individual. It’s challenging, but it is moments like this that make it all work. She’s a superstar now."
Dixon told PEOPLE she was "happy to have a big brother to count on," adding she loved him "every day."
In November 2019, Foxx gushed about his sister, telling Extra, “What’s great about DeOndra is that when people meet her they sort of lose that apprehension when they see people with special needs.”
“DeOndra just blows right past them,” he continued. “That’s a testament to [our] mom. Mom asked the kids at the school to just look out for her but treat her normal. She’s had a regular life, she’s just as well-adjusted as any person that you would see out there.”
Foxx added, “She’s special.”
Dixon also opened up about what she hoped to accomplish in her future, saying she was eager "to date."
"I want a boyfriend, I want to get married pretty soon and I hope I get married to Chris Brown because he’s my man," she said as Foxx sat next to her.
Of all the lessons Dixon taught Foxx, he said the most important was in realizing what truly mattered as he told Dateline's Kate Snow in an August 2018 interview.
"I learned how to live," he said. "Sometimes we get caught up in our world on the extras of everything — 'Ah, the Mercedes is not the right color!' And then you see this girl over here, 'I just want to live. I want to dance. I want to love.' So she brings you back down to what life is."