Ice Bucket Challenge inspirer Pete Frates passes away at 34

Mark Hoover

New York, December 10: The man who helped inspire the global phenomenon known as the "ice bucket challenge" to tackle a deadly neurodegenerative disease has died at the age of 34.

A baseball player from the Boston area in USA, Pete Frates' battle with ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ended on Monday (December 9), his family said in a statement.

"Pete passed away surrounded by his loving family, peacefully at age 34, after a heroic battle with ALS," his family said.

"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.

Frates, one-time college athlete was one of the inspirations behind the ice bucket challenge which took social media by storm in 2014.

Millions, including athletes from India took up the challenge which involved soaking themselves with a bucket of ice-cold water and posting the video online, before making a donation to medical research and challenging others to do the same.

Many high-profile personalities like Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates and even former US president George W. Bush also took part in this campaign, which reportedly raised more than $200 million to fund research into ALS.

The condition, officially known as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is more commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease after another baseball player who died of it in 1941. ALS sufferers' bodies slowly shut down as their nervous systems degenerate.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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