LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WDRB) -- A former Purdue University student who was the Boilermaker football team's biggest fan has died.
Tyler Trent battled a third round of bone cancer, as he pursued a college degree. And his fight inspired people across the country.
The 20-year-old earned a reputation as a Purdue super fan, after camping with another student in 2017 to get good seats to a Purdue-Michigan football game, just hours after chemotherapy.
He gained national attention in 2018 by becoming the adopted captain of the Boilermakers football team. He was in a wheelchair for Purdue’s upset win over Ohio State, which was ranked No. 2 in the nation at the time.
He became a social media star with his positive attitude and determination to live every day to the fullest despite the illness.
“Though I am in hospice care and have to wake up every morning knowing that the day might be my last, I still have a choice to make: to make that day the best it can be,” Trent wrote in a guest column for the newspaper in early December.
Colts owner Jim Irsay flew Trent and his family to the Music City Bowl last week, so he could serve as the team's honorary captain.
It’s with the deepest sorrow that we have to say goodbye to @theTylerTrent. We have all become #TylerStrong. To his family, words can’t express how sorry we are that he has passed. His life May have been short, but his legacy with be forever. pic.twitter.com/rONp00YoeK— Purdue Cancer Center (@PUCancerCenter) January 2, 2019
The Purdue athletic department offered condolences to Trent’s family and friends in a statement posted on its website.
“While there are no words to ease the hurt at times like this, we hope some comfort can be found in knowing what an inspiration Tyler is to our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans,” the statement said. “The entire Purdue Athletics family has been touched by his courageous battle, positive spirit and unwavering faith. Tyler was the embodiment of a true Boilermaker who will live on in each of us. We will forever be #TylerStrong.”
Last year, Purdue created a scholarship, the Tyler Trent Courage and Resilience Award, for an undergraduate who has encountered adversity while pursuing a college degree.
Rest In Peace to our team captain and our hero! God has put Tyler on his team!! His courage, strength and spirit touched a nation and inspired us all!! We love you Tyler! #TylerStrong 🙏 pic.twitter.com/YpRisGlM8D— Jeff Brohm (@JeffBrohm) January 2, 2019
Trent earned an associate degree from Purdue in computer information technology. He was diagnosed with bone cancer at age 15.
Last month, Trent won Disney's Wide World of Sport Spirit Award - which is given to college football's most inspirational individual or team.
“Tyler Trent was among the biggest, strongest and wisest people you could ever meet,” said Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb. “He reminded us what being good is all about.”
.@theTylerTrent was among the biggest, strongest & wisest people you could ever meet. He reminded us what being good is all about. I’m convinced Tyler was touched by our Lord & guided home every step of the way. Janet & I send our love to the Trent family & remain here for them.— Eric Holcomb (@GovHolcomb) January 2, 2019
Copyright 2019 WDRB Media. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved.