BEVERLY, MASS. (WHDH) - Former Boston College baseball player and inspiration for the “Ice Bucket Challenge” Pete Frates has died at the age of 34 after a heroic battle with ALS, his family announced Monday.
In a statement, the Frates family said, “Today Heaven received our angel: Peter Frates. A husband to Julie, a father to Lucy, a son to John and Nancy, a brother to Andrew and Jennifer, Pete passed away surrounded by his loving family, peacefully at age 34, after a heroic battle with ALS.”
The statement continued, “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.”
Frates, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2012, helped raise more than $200 million for research through the Ice Bucket Challenge — a viral social media movement that involved people pouring ice water over their heads and making a commitment to donate to the cause.
As the disease progressed, he became paralyzed and had to use a wheelchair, lost the ability to talk and had to be fed through a tube.
The family said Frates “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. As a result, through his determination—along with his faithful supporters, Team Frate Train—he championed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. In August of 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,” the statement read.
There is no known cure for ALS.
Boston College retired Frates’ No. 3 jersey in 2016. This past summer, the college named a new indoor sports facility in his honor.
In 2017, Mayor Martin J. Walsh declared Sept. 5 as Pete Frates day in Boston.
In a tweet, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said, “Peter Frates was one the most courageous and inspirational people I have ever met. He and his family changed the world for ALS patients and their families. Rest in peace, Pete. You earned it.”
The ALS Therapy Development Institute said it was “devastated” by the news of Frates’ death.
The family is urging those who would like to extend an expression of sympathy to make a donation to the Peter Frates Family Foundation, 21 Landers Drive, Beverly, MA 01915 or online here.
His funeral will be held Friday at St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish in Chestnut Hill.
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