Chad Carr, 5, grandson of former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr, passed away Monday after a 15-month battle with brain cancer. Carr served as an inspiration to Michigan fans and players alike ever since his family went public with the terminal diagnosis.
After his mother, Tammi, tweeted the news of his passing, Michigan fans took to Twitter to tweet their condolences and support. #ChadTough, the hashtag used throughout his fight as a source of encouragement, trended nationally within hours of his death. Carr's connection with Michigan went even deeper than Lloyd Carr. His maternal grandfather, Tom Curtis, was a Hall of Fame safety, and his father, Jason, also played for the Wolverines.
Carr's fight against cancer bonded the Michigan football team and its rivals alike. The Wolverines wrote "#ChadTough" on their helmets before they played Indiana on Nov. 14, and Michigan State and Ohio State wore helmet decals in honor of Carr when they matched up last weekend.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, a close friend of the Carr family, tweeted his condolences Monday afternoon.
The sadness lingered into Monday night, when he appeared on his weekly radio show to discuss the Wolverines' upcoming rivalry game with Ohio State.
"It's incredible sadness, and I don't know if it's going to get better anytime soon," Harbaugh said.
Last week, after Carr entered hospice care, Tammi Carr posted on Facebook that Harbaugh and his wife Sarah had sent a spiritual healer to spend time with the Carr family.
Harbaugh and his team dedicated their win over the Hoosiers to Carr two weeks ago. After the game, Michigan captains Joe Bolden and Joe Kerridge delivered the game balls to Carr.
Carr's death seemed to have a profound impact on the Wolverines. Many of the players took time to send their condolences on Twitter, even during preparation for their biggest game of the year.
Carr's death resonated with the rest of the Michigan athletic department as well. The Michigan women's basketball team wore orange #ChadTough warmup shirts before their game against South Carolina Upstate on Monday night. Michigan basketball coach John Beilein also became choked up during his press conference Monday as his team prepared to head to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantic.
"It's a sad day and I'm sure the positive will be an awareness for childhood brain cancer and what we can all do going forward," Beilein said. "Tough to talk basketball, but that's what we're going to do."
Max Cohen is SI's campus correspondent for the University of Michigan. Follow him on Twitter.