KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 — The man, whose personal battle with the neurodegenerative disease ALS inspired the popular Ice Bucket Challenge campaign, has died.
Pete Frates was 34.
The former Boston College baseball captain died yesterday at his home in Beverly, Massachusetts, surrounded by loved ones, seven years after his diagnosis, reported Reuters.
He leaves behind a wife and a daughter.
The Ice Bucket Challenge, which went viral in 2014, saw people around the world sharing videos of themselves dumping buckets of ice water on themselves and challenging others to do the same.
The campaign raised more than US$220 million for ALS research, according to the ALS association.
ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is a fatal disease that impairs nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control.
Its cause is unknown and there is no cure.
Reports suggest that 12,000 to 15,000 Americans have ALS, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration announced it approved a drug that slows the effects of ALS.
Frates was diagnosed with ALS in 2012 at the age of 27. Prior to his illness, he was an all-rounder athlete who played football, hockey and baseball in high school.
He helped draw attention to the Ice Bucket Challenge through celebrity and political support, which he said was part of his long-term ALS advocacy.
This inspired him to not just survive but thrive after being diagnosed, he told a local Boston daily.