Athlete who helped Ice Bucket Challenge go viral has died

Tanya Simon
December 10, 2019

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.

Frates was one of the founders of the viral Ice Bucket Challenge along with Anthony Senerchia, who died in 2017 at age 46.

Frates helped draw attention to the challenge through celebrity support from New England Patriots star Tom Brady, soon-to-become Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former U.S. President George W. Bush, Bill Gates, Lady Gaga and others.

The ice bucket challenge took off in the summer of 2014, after Frates and his family started daring each other to dump ice water on their heads to raise awareness about the disease.

The challenge has raised about $290m worldwide, including $168m alone for the Washington-based ALS Association. Most people did both.

A man who helped inspire a multimillion-dollar movement to help find a cure for ALS has died. "Instead, he saw it as an opportunity to give hope to other patients and their families", the statement said. There is no known treatment or cure for the disease, also called Lou Gehrig's Disease.

As news of his death spread Monday, messages of mourning echoed across the commonwealth and within the communities touched by his leadership.

More than 17 million people did.

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Pete Frates at Fenway Park in 2017. Rest In Peace Pete.

His funeral will be held Friday at St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish in Chestnut Hill. In 2016, a global gene sequencing effort, funded by Ice Bucket Challenge donations to the ALS Association, led to the discovery of a new ALS gene.

In November 2018, Frates' family launched the Peter Frates Family Foundation to help others with the disease receive care in their homes.

"Pete never complained about his illness", his family said Monday. He'd need care, need it in ways not yet known to him, and that would be that for using his ALS diagnosis like this. this opportunity to educate the world about the awful disease.

The inspiration behind arguably the most successful and well-known social media challenge has died at the age of 34. "He was a beacon of hope for all", the statement read.

Frates is survived by his wife, Julie; daughter Lucy; parents John and Nancy; and siblings Andrew and Jennifer. "Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of former BC Birdball captain Pete Frates (class of 2007)", a representative for the college tweeted.

In a statement released to Boston College, Frates was remembered for his "heroic battle with ALS".

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