Man who inspired Ice Bucket Challenge for crucial research dies aged 34

Pete Frates with members of the Boston College baseball team
Pete Frates with members of the Boston College baseball team Copyright AP Photo/Steven SenneSteven Senne
Copyright AP Photo/Steven Senne
By Luke Hurst with Reuters
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Pete Frates inspired the Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised more than $220 million towards researching motor neurone disease


The man whose battle with motor neurone disease inspired the Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised millions for research, has died at the age of 34.

Pete Frates was diagnosed with the condition, also known as ALS, in 2012 when he was 27.

In 2014 the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral online, with people all over the world posting videos and pictures of themselves pouring buckets of water and ice on their heads, challenging others to do the same, and encouraging people to donate towards ALS research. 

The ALS Association reported the challenge raised more than $220 million. In 2017 the U Food and Drug Administration said it had approved a drug that slows the effects of ALS.

Children mark the five year anniversary of the "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" in BostonReuters

Frates helped to spread the word about the challenge through celebrity support from NFL star Tom Brady, the soon-to-be Canadian Prime Minister at the time Justin Trudeau, former US President George W. Bush, Bill Gates, Lady Gaga and others.

"(It) give me another reason to get out of bed every day," Frates told the Boston College newspaper, The Heights, around a year after his diagnosis.

"Being part of something bigger than yourself is one of the best things you can do," he said.

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