Athlete who helped Ice Bucket Challenge go viral has died

Elias Hubbard
December 10, 2019

Pete Frates, the former Boston College baseball star whose battle with ALS inspired the viral Ice Bucket Challenge and raised millions for ALS research, died Monday at age 34.

Pete Frates came up with the challenge five years before his death, which was confirmed in a statement from his family.

As the statement read, "Today Heaven received our angel: Peter Frates".

On behalf of Julie, Lucy, John, Nancy, Jennifer and Andrew, along with his extended family and multitude of friends, we ask that you celebrate Pete and the hope that he has given to so many by following his daily affirmation: Be passionate, be genuine, be hardworking and don't ever be afraid to be great.

Frates was diagnosed with ALS in March 2012 when he was 27 years old and went on to raise awareness and funds for the disease, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

Celebrities from around the world, including Oprah, Lady Gaga, Bill Gates and The Rock, participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014. The challenge is credited with raising more than $220m for ALS research. Even Homer Simpson took part.

Facebook said in 2014 that there were about 2.4 million videos related to the challenge, and at the time it had reached almost every country in the world.

"Pete never complained about his illness", his family said on Monday. Instead, he saw it as an opportunity to give hope to other patients and their families.

But, then, we didn't really know Pete Frates back then, did we? "He was a beacon of hope for all".

Frates, a young college athlete from suburban MA, helped make the challenge go viral.

A spokesman for Boston College, where Frates was a baseball captain, announced the news of Frates' death, CBS Boston reports. In 2016, a global gene sequencing effort, funded by Ice Bucket Challenge donations to the ALS Association, led to the discovery of a new ALS gene. Senerchia died in Pelham, 2017.

Frates, Senerchia and others helped fuel renewed interest in the disease, which has always been associated with former New York Yankees star Lou Gehrig.

Gehrig famously retired from Major League Baseball in 1939 after he was diagnosed with the disease. Dozens of research institutions around the world have benefited from the money raised.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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