Anthony Senerchia, the man who inspired the viral sensation “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” has died after a 14-year-long battle with the disease. He passed away on Saturday at the age of 46, after battling with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Senerchia was diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2003. He was told he only had a few years to live, his obituary states, shortly after marrying his wife Jeanette.
“Throughout his fight, Anthony maintained a positive attitude and would say ‘It’s not what we take from life, but what we give back to others is what ultimately defines us,’” his obituary reads.
“He worked tirelessly to raise awareness for ALS and was directly responsible for the world-renowned Ice bucket challenge,” his obituary added, calling him “a fireball who tried everything in life.”
“It’s a difficult disease and tough when you’re losing,” his wife, Jeanette, told the Journal News Media Group. “Your body is failing you. But he was a fighter… He was our light. He made our life better.”
Before his death, Senerchia founded the Anthony Senerchia Jr. ALS Charitable Foundation, which helped fund research at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, as well as families affected by the disease.
He is popularly known for being the inspiration for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a worldwide sensation in 2014, which attracted millions around the globe to take part in the challenge and make donations to ALS research.