Pete Frates, the man who inspired thousands to participate in the viral “Ice Bucket Challenge,” which raised over $220 million for ALS research, has died at age 34, his family said. In a statement released to Boston College, Frates was remembered for his “heroic battle with ALS.”
“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 family’s statement said. “Pete was an inspiration to so many people around the world who drew strength from his courage and resiliency.”
Frates, who attended Boston College and was named team captain of the Varsity baseball team in 2007, was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) in 2012, at age 27. He went on to marry his wife and welcome their daughter, Lucy, in the following years, as well as gain household recognition through the Ice Bucket Challenge. He received numerous awards and honors for his work and dedication to raising awareness for the disease, including a nomination for Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” award.
“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,” the statement continued.
“Remarkably, Pete never complained about his illness. Instead, he saw it as an opportunity to give hope to other patients and their families,” the statement said. “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 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 family asked mourners to “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.”
A mass is to be held at St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish at Boston College on a future date, followed by a celebration of his life at the North Shore of Boston.
“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 statement said.
The family asked for privacy and encouraged mourners to make a donation to the Peter Frates Family Foundation, which aims to help progressed ALS patients stay in their own homes.