Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Peter Frates, co-founder of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised more than $200 million dollars worldwide for research into the neurodegenerative disease, has died at age 34.
Frates' family confirmed his death Monday in a statement on the website of his alma mater, Boston College. He was diagnosed with ALS in 2012 at age 27.
In 2014, he helped to create a viral sensation as people shared videos of buckets of ice water poured on themselves in a "historic movement" that "pioneered social media fundraising," according to the statement.
"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," the statement said. "He was a noble fighter who inspired us all to use our talents and strengths in the service of others."
He "never complained about his illness," and "saw it as an opportunity to give hope to other patients and families," the statement added.
"Two years after his diagnosis, Pete joined Pat Quinn and Anthony Senerchia, two other young men with ALS, in spearheading the movement that changed ALS forever," the blog said. "In 2014, more than 17 million people around the world took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It became the biggest online fundraising phenomenon in history. The challenge raised more than $115 million for the ALS Association and over $200 million around the world for ALS research and brought unprecedented awareness of the disease."
ALS is an acronym for the rare progressive disease involving nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movement called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It is also often called Lou Gerhrig's disease, after the New York Yankees first baseman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, who was diagnosed with the disease in 1939 and died in 1941.
Frates was born on Dec. 28, 1984 in Beverly, Massachusetts.
He attended Boston College, where he was a star outfielder and captain of the baseball team.
He is survived by his wife, Julie; his daughter, Lucy Fitzgerald; his mother, Nancy; his father, John; his brother, Andrew; and his sister, Jennifer Mayo.
His family asked that people consider donating to the Peter Frates Family Foundation to assist progressed ALS patients and their families with the cost of home health care in his memory.