Pete Frates, known for his role in promoting the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money for ALS, has died at the age of 34.
Frates was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, in 2012. The Beverly, Mass., native sought to find a cure for the disease when he began promoting the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014. The challenge, which involves someone having a bucket of cold water dumped over their head and then naming a friend to do the same, went viral on social media. That year Sports Illustrated named Frates as its Inspiration of the Year for persevering for a cause that was neglected by the public at large for years.
The Boston Globe reports that somewhere between $160 million and $220 million was raised for ALS research thanks to the challenge.
In 2017, Frates, a former Boston College centerfielder, donated his bucket and sunglasses from his Ice Bucket Challenge video to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Frates's family released a statement through Boston College on Monday and noted his desire to help others.
"Pete was an inspiration to so many people around the world who drew strength from his courage and resiliency.
"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. He was a noble fighter who inspired us all to use our talents and strengths in the service of others.
"Remarkably, Pete never complained about his illness. Instead, he saw it as an opportunity to give hope to other patients and their families. In his lifetime, he was determined to change the trajectory of a disease that had no treatment or cure."
Boston College retired Frates's number in 2016, and the NCAA honored him with the Inspiration Award for his work to raise awareness for ALS research in 2017.