Motivational speaker Patrick Quinn, co-creator of the viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge lost his seven-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Sunday morning at the age of 37.
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. No cure currently exists, and the Ice Bucket Challenge was launched in 2014 to raise awareness about the disease and funds to spur research.
The ALS Association confirmed Quinn’s passing on Twitter, noting Quinn will “continue to inspire us until we have a world without ALS.”
After co-creating the social media-driven Ice Bucket Challenge, which has raised more than $250 million worldwide, Quinn launched his Quinn for the Win foundation.
Bruce McLane, Iona College rugby coach and a close friend of Quinn’s, told The Journal News that his friend was able to “find the positive in almost every situation.”
“He always had the right words when you were down, and he was very compassionate, even though he was suffering tremendously,” McLane told the newspaper.
Woodlands High School football coach Anthony Fava, who grew up and remained close friends with Quinn, told The Journal News that Quinn’s overarching message to all he inspired was to never take or squander a second of life.
“Sometimes, you take life for granted, and you don’t know what’s coming tomorrow. (Quinn was) living proof of it. One day he’s a 30-year-old, and we’re playing men’s league basketball in Tarrytown. Then a few months later, he’s diagnosed with a terminal illness,” Fava said.
“If there’s anyone that can speak to taking every day like it’s your last, it’s him. He lived every damn day with that disease to the absolute fullest and put others in front of his own,” he added.