Kardashians Remember Late Dad Robert, Thank Medical Staff at UCLA Center Named After Him

Robert Kardashian Sr. died in 2003, weeks after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer

Kardashians UCLA HEALTH
Photo: UCLA Health

The Kardashian siblings are remembering their late father Robert Kardashian Sr. during April’s Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month.

The family issued a statement on Thursday, one year after the opening of UCLA’s Robert G. Kardashian Center for Esophageal Health in Los Angeles.

“More than ever we are thinking about the medical staff on the front lines during this pandemic and thankful for everyone who risks their lives each day for others,” said Rob Kardashian, 33, Khloé Kardashian, 35, Kourtney Kardashian, 40, and Kim Kardashian West, 39, referring to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

“This month is also an important time for us as we remember our father and shine a light on Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month,” they continued. “We’d like to thank the dedicated staff of skilled doctors and nurses that work at the UCLA Robert G. Kardashian Center for Esophageal Health.”

Robert, a businessman and attorney, became a household name when he helped defend friend O.J. Simpson during his infamous 1994 murder trial. He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in July 2003 and died less than eight weeks later, at age 59, on Sept. 30, 2003.

Robert Kardashian Kourtney
Kourtney Kardashian/Instagram
Kim Robert
Kim Kardashian / Instagram

The center in his name was started by Dr. Eric Esrailian, chief of digestive diseases and one of UCLA Health’s leaders, in the effort to raise funds for COVID-19 supplies.

UCLA Robert G. Kardashian Center For Esophageal Health Dedication Event

Dr. Esrailian, who is also of Armenian descent, is close friends with the Kardashians. Last fall, he launched the The Promise Armenian Institute at UCLA, a hub for all Armenian-related education, research and outreach on campus.

The Kardashian family has been supportive of the Institute and efforts towards Armenian Genocide awareness. During last week’s episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kim and Kourtney traveled to Armenia to baptize their children. During the trip, Kim and Dr. Esrailian spoke at the World Congress on Information Technology in Yerevan, and Dr Esrailian also introduced the sisters to President Armen Sarkissian.

Dr. Esrailian is also helping raise awareness and funding for UCLA Health during the coronavirus pandemic to not only purchase additional supplies but to also support research and education around the virus. You can contribute to the efforts here.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

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