Zach Lederer, the former Maryland men’s basketball manager whose courageous battle with brain cancer inspired a national social media movement, died Tuesday. He was 20.
According to the program’s Twitter account, a candlelight vigil was held Tuesday night at Comcast Center for Lederer, whose strongman pose helped coin the phrase, “Zaching,” a show of strength that spread across the country.
Lederer was taken off life support in January and transported home, where he continued to fight. His memory lives on, in particular, inside the managers’ room at Comcast Center, where close friend and fellow manager Evan Lipinski painted a mural in Lederer’s honor.
“My heart goes out to the Lederer family,” Coach Mark Turgeon said in a team-issued statement. “Zach was an outstanding young man who was an inspiration to us all. He had a great passion for life and was a true fighter. Zach not only had a powerful impact on our program, but he touched the lives of so many people in our community. He is and always will be a part of our Maryland basketball family and will be greatly missed.”
Said guard Dez Wells in January, when news broke that Lederer’s condition was worsening: “It’s a very soft spot for me. I texted his parents, I texted him. I’ve just been trying to keep in touch with everybody. I plan on going to his funeral. I’m sure our team will go, too. He’s been a great inspiration for me, just seeing somebody like that fight like he’s been doing. I just hope he doesn’t have to suffer too much longer. That’s all I’m praying, that he doesn’t have to suffer too much longer, or his family.”
Several other Terps offered their condolences on Twitter. Maryland will travel to the ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C., on Wednesday morning and begin play on Thursday at noon vs. Florida State. The team will hold media availability on Wednesday afternoon following practice at nearby Wesleyan Christian Academy.
— Nick Faust (@nickfaustLIVE) March 12, 2014
R.I.P TO ZACH LEDERER WILL NEVER FORGET YU, YU INSPIRED SOO MANY PEOPLE INCLUDING ME !! BEING AROUND YU WAS A BLESSING ! #livingthedream
— Seth Allen (@bbll4eva_Allen) March 12, 2014
All my prayers goes out to Zach’s Family. He will be missed and never forgotten.
— Charles Mitchell (@StuckLikeChuck1) March 12, 2014
Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Zach Lederer, whose life inspired the world. We will miss you and remember you.
— Wallace D. Loh (@presidentloh) March 12, 2014
rest in paradise zach
— Evan Smotrycz (@_es1) March 12, 2014
— Varun Ram (@VRam_11) March 12, 2014
— Evan Lipinski (@E_LIPINSKI) March 12, 2014
RIP Zach prayers go out to you and your family http://t.co/c8gy8hVZZF
— Conner Lipinski (@BRO_pinski) March 12, 2014
— Diamondback Sports (@DBKSports) March 12, 2014