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Young Sheldon: How Old Is Sheldon When His Dad Dies?

Chuck Lorre has made his career defining the look and feel of the modern sitcom. With his series "Young Sheldon," Lorre kept that spirit intact while seamlessly transitioning to a single-camera setup. But don't let the show's otherwise typical sitcom trappings fool you. For as bubbly and brightly lit as "Young Sheldon" is, an unspoken pall hangs over the series caused by the impending death of George Sr. (Lance Barber). 

George's death isn't exactly a spoiler. Adult Sheldon (Jim Parsons) matter-of-factly mentions his father's passing in "The Big Bang Theory," giving "Young Sheldon" higher stakes than your garden variety sitcom. 

In Season 7, Episode 9 ("The Thanksgiving Decoupling") of "The Big Bang Theory," Sheldon shares an unlikely moment of bonding with Bernie's dad as the two watch football. It's then that he reveals his dad died when he was 14 years old. If "Young Sheldon" adheres to "Big Bang Theory" canon, then George could pass away in the next couple of years. 

Sheldon was 14, according to Big Bang Theory lore

When "Young Sheldon" premiered in 2017, Sheldon (Iain Armitage) was only nine years old, and George's death was years in the future. Still, the major life event crept up periodically. In Season 1, George has his first heart attack, and a second one follows early in Season 5. "The Big Bang Theory" fans are also privy to George's poor health, as Sheldon regularly alludes to his drinking (even going so far as to say the liquor store owner mourned his death).

In the ongoing sixth season, Sheldon is 12 years old, and the specter of death is looming larger in the series, setting up a dark end for the series. The inevitable event affects the cast as well. When a fan tweeted, "Missy and George's relationship is beautiful. We will all be destroyed by her reaction to his death," star Raegan Revord jumped in to reply: "I'm already destroyed and it hasn't even happened yet."

Still, some fans are holding out hope that "Young Sheldon" will play fast and loose with anachronisms, perhaps even nixing the death altogether. @silliestgoofy tweeted, "Hope they pull the alternate universe card on Young Sheldon so George Cooper doesn't die because it will break my tiny little heart."