Brett Hamilton: How Did Isabel Wilkerson’s Husband Die?

The true-story-based film, ‘Origin’ follows the life of Isabel Wilkerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, who undertakes the daunting task of understanding the thread interconnecting centuries of oppression across different nations. It has realistic ties to Isabel Wilkerson and her journey of researching for her second non-fiction novel, ‘Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.’ Consequently, several aspects of the author’s actual life are reflected in the film as background for the narrative unfolding on-screen. Jon Bernthal’s compelling portrayal of Brett Hamilton, the husband of Wilkerson, remains one such element. Therefore, as the film touches upon Hamilton’s unfortunate death and its effect on the author, it must have caught the viewers’ intrigue.

Brett Kelly Hamilton Was a Financial Analyst

Born in Atlanta in 1969 to John and Nancy Hamilton, Brett Kelly Hamilton attended Grady High School in his youth. He went on to graduate from Kentucky’s Centre College with a major in Mathematics and Physics. During his college days, he was also a part of the Phi Kappa Tau Delta Chapter fraternity. From there, the man charted a path into the world of finances, traveling across different states — Kentucky, Atlanta, and Texas — where he worked in the healthcare industry as an actuary and a financial analyst. Although he ran in finance circles professionally, Hamilton undertook several other adventures in his life.

For instance, Hamilton traveled to Guatemala, where he learned Spanish and aided in the construction of a clinic in Ghana. He also assisted Alzheimer’s patients and tutored Lexington’s at-risk children alongside the University of Kentucky’s athletes as a volunteer. On the other hand, his personal life remained equally as fulfilling. He was a devoted father and husband. Hamilton and his wife, Isabel Wilkerson, often dubbed his soulmate, had two kids: an older daughter, Ansley, and a younger son, Rafe. He had a loving relationship with his children and never missed a chance to make lasting memories with them.

While he would ask their firstborn to assist him in cooking delicious food, their son received his father’s company in putting together Lego sets. Not only that, he would also help them with their academic assignments. Furthermore, Hamilton was also a loving and supportive husband, venturing out to new adventures with Wilkerson as her profession demanded. Sometime before his eventual death, the man extensively traveled the European continent by his wife’s side. Sustaining interests in different spheres of life — from playing the guitar to caving trips — Brett Kelly Hamilton lived a life full of kindness and optimism.

Brett Kelly Hamilton Passed Away in 2015

Brett Hamilton dealt with daunting health issues throughout his life. Yet, he didn’t allow the onslaught of medical diagnoses, surgeries, or therapies to get his spirit down. For the same reason, his loved ones remember him for his “open, generous heart, a patient and gentle spirit, and a witty sense of humor.” In 2000, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, rare and nonmalignant in nature. Even though the diagnosis led to substantial changes in his life through taxing regiments, Hamilton didn’t give up on his work schedule as long as he was able to.

Likewise, the man continued traveling with his wife for her literary career. In 2015, Wilkerson took to Facebook to share a photograph (see above) taken by Hamilton of his wife with her debut book. The caption read, “Brett was suffering even then from the ill effects of a brain tumor, but he did not complain or let on to the difficulty he faced with his double vision. When he first looked at the picture, true to his character of always wanting to make his loved ones happy, he was hard on himself and thought he had blown the opportunity to get a clear, perfect shot, knowing that we had no time to retake it.”

Thus, once Hamilton unexpectedly passed away on July 19, 2015, his loss was deeply felt by his family, friends and the community that admired and valued his presence. More than his professional achievements, the father of two is remembered for his resilience, quick wit, kind-heartedness and free-spirited nature. Wilkerson, who lost her mother a year after Hamilton’s death, discussed the same in an interview with Vogue, referring to the losses as “an incomprehensible vanishing of the two people, after my father’s death, that I had loved most in this world.” Therefore, though it’s been over eight years since his passing, Brett Hamilton’s wife, kids, parents, and sister, Lisa, continue to honor him by keeping his memories alive.

Read More: Origin: 8 Similar Movies That Explore Racism and Caste Bias