Pete Frates, Face of the Ice Bucket Challenge, Dead at 34

Former College Baseball Player Helped Raise Millions

Dave Mager
December 09, 2019 - 2:43 pm
Peter Frates

By Michael Loccisano/Getty/Staff


Pete Frates, the former Boston College baseball player who fought Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS) for years while becoming the face of the viral Ice Bucket Challenge fundraising campaign, has died.

"Remarkably, Pete never complained about his illness," his family writes in a statement released online.

"Instead, he saw it as an opportunity to give hope to other patients and their families."

He was 34 and grew up in Beverly, MA. He leaves his wife, Julie, and a daughter, Lucy, 5.

"Through his determination," the statement continues, "along with his faithful supporters -- Team Frate Train, he championed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge."

In 2012, Frates was diagnosed with ALS, the dreaded muscle disease that has confounded researchers for generations. 

There is no cure for the disease that also struck down Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig in the middle of his career as the Yankees' slugging captain and first baseman. He died in 1941.

Frates helped initiate the Ice Bucket Challenge, in which millions of people worldwide have had ice dumped over their heads for charity. The silly-looking ritual has a thoroughly serious purpose; it has raised many millions of dollars for ALS research, which Frates hoped would lead to a cure, if not in his lifetime, then in years to come.

"He was a beacon of hope for all," added the family.

No details are available yet on memorial plans.