Lauren Hill, a 19-year-old college basketball player with a rare form of cancer, has died, according to WKRC.
Hill was supposed to play basketball at Mount St. Joseph University, but was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glimoma (DIPG), a terminal form of cancer during her senior year of high school. She was given months, if not weeks, to live.
But in that time, Hill became a powerhouse advocate for cancer research and an inspiration to people all across the country.
She delayed hospice care to play at her first game for Mount St. Joseph on Nov. 2, after the NCAA allowed the Ohio school to move the game up by weeks so that Hill could participate.
When No. 22 appeared on the court, even as her strength waned, it was a riveting moment.
Lauren Hill's layup opens her emotional first/final game. Feels. https://t.co/fPEhPF10lT
— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) November 2, 2014
“Today has been the best day I’ve ever had,” she told the sold-out arena later.
On Friday, Mount St. Joseph University President Tony Aretz mourned Hill’s loss.
“God has a new game plan for Lauren Hill,” Aretz said in a statement. “Her light will continue to shine on us all as her supporters worldwide continue her mission of increasing awareness and finding a cure for DIPG.”
“We are forever grateful to have had Lauren grace our campus with her smile and determined spirit. She has left a powerful legacy. She taught us that every day is a blessing; every moment a gift,” he added.
Until we officially meet again, take care and continue to be that LEADER we all love! #RIPLaurenHill Sincerely, LeBron James
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 10, 2015
Thank you Lauren Hill for inspiring us all. Your strength and tenacity will always be remembered. You live on in our hearts forever.
— WNBA (@WNBA) April 10, 2015
— NCAA (@NCAA) April 10, 2015
Despite the pain, debilitating headaches and growing weakness, Hill explained that her love for the came and her love for the team made her feel compelled to be there for them — even during the most difficult period of her life.
“When I’m not there, I feel like I’m letting people down,” she told CBS News last year.
On Sunday, at the women’s Final Four in Tampa, Hill was honored with the Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award in absentia.
— espnW (@espnW) April 5, 2015
“I couldn’t be more proud of Lauren,” said her college coach, Dan Benjamin. “To be here in Lauren’s honor — I’d much rather she be here than me. Here’s a 19-year old girl teaching me about life.”
Hill’s family publicly documented her courageous fight on Facebook.
Over the last several weeks, Hill continued to raise awareness and talk about her battle with cancer, even after she became wheelchair-ridden, then later bedridden at a hospital.
The rapid decline of her health has taken an toll on her family. Three days ago, they posted an anguished update on Hill’s condition:
Today was Brent’s Birthday. Lauren greeted him this morning with a huge smile and open arms. Hugs for dad on his birthday. I so wish with all my heart I could give him the gift he really wished for. What we all wish for….. The CURE! My heart is breaking and I wish someone would wake us all up from this nightmare.
Throughout her fight, however, Hill made the words “never give up” a mantra.
“I usually play for my family, because they are who I worry about,” Hill told the Cincinnati Enquirer in December.
“I want everybody to know I never give up, even though I have my low moments and I feel like giving up,” she added. “If I do pass, I don’t want people to say I lost. I want, ‘She kicked DIPG’s butt and raised a lot of money for research.’”
— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) April 10, 2015
— WCPO (@WCPO) April 10, 2015
— Cincinnati Bearcats (@GoBEARCATS) April 10, 2015
RIP to the courageous Lauren Hill. Thank you for being an inspiration.
— Arizona Basketball (@APlayersProgram) April 10, 2015
— Mike & Mike (@MikeAndMike) April 10, 2015
— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) April 10, 2015
— HCAC (@HCACDIII) April 10, 2015
— CFB Hall of Fame (@cfbhall) April 10, 2015
— Matt Overton (@MattOverton_LS) April 10, 2015
— espnW (@espnW) April 10, 2015
— Miami University WBB (@MiamiOH_WBB) April 10, 2015
— Amy Lyn Wright (@CoachADubAggie) April 10, 2015
— WCPO (@WCPO) April 10, 2015
[This post has been updated.]