The man who started the viral Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research died of the disease Monday.
“We ask that you celebrate Pete and the hope that he has given to so many by following his daily affirmation: Be passionate, be genuine, be hardworking, and don’t ever be afraid to be great,” the statement by the 34-year-old’s family read.
The statement continued:
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.
Frates, who was a star baseball player at Boston College, began raising awareness about the fatal disease that erodes muscle function in 2012 after his own diagnosis, according to WBUR.
“I’m going to hopefully capitalize on this and realize that this is the lot in life I’ve been given and be able to go forward and get you all the money and resources that you so deservedly need,” he said when honored for his advocacy work for the ALS Therapy Development Institute.
In 2014, he challenged a few friends and celebrities, including Tom Brady, to either dump a bucket of ice water on their heads or donate to the ALS Association.
“As the preeminent ALS organization, The Association leads the way in research, care services, public education, and public policy — giving help and hope to those facing the disease,” the nonprofit’s website states.
Thanks to his efforts, the Ice Bucket Challenge caught on and immediately raised tens of millions of dollars for research into the disease, according to NBC Boston.
Monday, WCVB-TV shared a photo of Frates to its Twitter account and offered condolences to his loved ones:
We share our love for all of his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/TPRRCLCk8t
— WCVB-TV Boston (@WCVB) December 9, 2019
“The Frates family wishes to express its sincere gratitude for the abundant love, kindness, and support we have been the recipients of during the past eight years,” the family’s statement concluded.