Ice bucket challenge inspiration Pete Frates dies at 34

National News

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 09: Pete Frates and Julie Frates attend the Sportsman Of The Year 2014 Ceremony on December 9, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)

(AP) — A former college baseball player whose battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease helped inspire the ice bucket challenge has died.

Pete Frates was 34. Frates’ family says he died Monday.

The ice bucket challenge has raised more than $200 million worldwide for research into ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

In 2016, the ice bucket challenge helped scientists discover a new gene linked to ALS. The gene is NEK1, a gene that could help find ways to understand and treat ALS.

Participants would challenge others to share videos of themselves dumping a bucket of icy water over their own heads to raise awareness. Celebrities and leaders from around the world joined in on the challenge as the fundraiser gained popularity.

The fundraiser began in 2014 when pro golfer Chris Kennedy challenged his wife’s cousin Jeanette Senerchia, whose husband has ALS.

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