Patrick Quinn, whose personal battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease helped power the Ice Bucket Challenge fundraising campaign, has died aged 37, seven years after his diagnosis, according to the ALS Association and his supporters on Facebook.
Quinn, who was born and grew up in Yonkers, New York, was co-founder of the campaign that raised more than $220m for medical research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was diagnosed with ALS on 8 March 2013.
The ALS Association credited Quinn on Sunday with helping popularise “the greatest social media campaign in history”, adding: “The Ice Bucket challenge dramatically accelerated the fight against ALS, leading to new research discoveries, expansion of care for people with ALS, and greater investment by the government in ALS research.”
Condolences to the Quinn family poured in on social media on Sunday night, with many expressing gratitude for the spotlight he drew to the disease and the need to find a cure. His supporters said on Facebook: “We will always remember him for his inspiration and courage in his tireless fight against ALS.”
The Ice Bucket Challenge went viral on social media in the summer of 2014, when people around the world posted videos and photos of themselves dumping buckets of ice water on their heads and challenging others to do the same while urging donations for ALS research.
Roughly 12,000 to 15,000 Americans may have ALS, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An estimated 5% to 10% of ALS cases are believed to be hereditary, but the cause is unknown and there is no cure.
Among Quinn’s many honours for raising awareness of ALS and promoting research was a nomination with fellow ALS activist Peter Frates as Time magazine person of the year. Frates died last year aged 34, seven years after his diagnosis.