Pat Quinn, co-founder of famous ‘Ice Bucket Challenge,’ dies at 37

Nov. 23 (UPI) — Pat Quinn, the co-founder of the famous “Ice Bucket Challenge” that emerged several years ago and raised more than $250 million for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis research, died of the disease on Sunday. He was 37.

A native of the Yonkers section of New York City, Quinn was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig‘s disease, in 2013 when he was 30.

The following year, he and Pete Frates invented the Ice Bucket Challenge — a popular activity in which people had buckets of ice dumped onto their heads to raise awareness for the disease. A number of well-known figures and celebrities participated in the challenge and posted videos to social media.

After taking a bucket of ice onto their heads, a person would then nominate another person to take the challenge. Former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton were nominated by multiple prominent figures, but instead opted to make a financial donation to the ALS Foundation. Former President George W. Bush did take the challenge.

“We are deeply sorry to share that Pat Quinn passed away today,” the foundation said. “Pat was a co-founder of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and an inspiration to millions of people around the world.

“Pat fought ALS with positivity and bravery and inspired all around him. Those of us who knew him are devastated but grateful for all he did to advance the fight against ALS.”

Frates died last December at age 34.

Quinn, a former rugby player at Iona College, later made motivational speeches and fought ALS with his non-profit Quinn for the Win Foundation.

“He was able to find a positive in almost every situation,” Iona rugby coach and friend Bruce McLane said. “He always had the right words when you were down, and he was very compassionate, even though he was suffering tremendously.”

Iona inducted Quinn into its rugby hall of fame in 2019 and named an award after him.

Some of the prominent figures who participated in the challenge were Oprah Winfrey, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and NBA superstar LeBron James.

Several revivals of the Ice Bucket Challenge followed in the years after its debut in 2014.