Former Boston College baseball captain Pete Frates, who inspired people to raise millions for ALS research with the Ice Bucket Challenge, has died age 34. As Variety reports, Frates was one of the first people to help popularize the viral challenge. Frates was first diagnosed with the disease in 2012, when he was 27 years old.
"A natural born leader and the ultimate teammate, Pete was a role model for all, especially young athletes, who looked up to him for his bravery and unwavering positive spirit in the face of adversity," his family wrote in a statement shared by Boston College. "In his lifetime, he was determined to change the trajectory of a disease that had no treatment or cure. As a result, through his determination—along with his faithful supporters, Team Frate Train—he championed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. In August 2014, the historic movement pioneered social media fundraising and garnered donations globally that resulted in better access to ALS care, genetic discoveries, treatments and, someday, a cure. He was a beacon of hope for all."
Following his diagnosis, Frates said he was going to fight the disease with everything he had.
"It's my life's work. It's what I believe the big man upstairs has put me here to do," he said. The Ice Bucket Challenge helped raise over $115 million for ALS research. "Pete never complained about his illness," his family added. "Instead, he saw it as an opportunity to give hope to other patients and their families."
He is survived by his wife Nancy and daughter Lucy.