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Who was Patrick Quinn? Ice Bucket Challenge co-creator dies at 37 after seven years of battle with ALS disease

Patrick was instrumental in co-creating the philantrophic campaign - Ice Bucket Challenge that helped raise multiple million dollar for medical research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Patrick Quinn (Getty Images)
Patrick Quinn (Getty Images)

Patrick Quinn, 37, who pioneered the viral Ice Bucket Challenge that took the Internet by storm earlier this decade, has died. The news was announced on his Facebook page. The post read, "It is with great sadness that we must share the passing of Patrick early this morning. He was a blessing to us all in so many ways. We will always remember him for his inspiration and courage in his tireless fight against ALS."

Who was Patrick Quinn?

Born and raised in Yonkers, New York City, Quinn was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) on March 3, 2013. The disease had no cure or viable treatment back then. Patrick, along with fellow ALS activist Pete Frates who died last year at 34, launched the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness for ALS and promote medical research for the same.

What is ALS?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The onset of ALS often involves muscle weakness or stiffness as early symptoms. Progression of weakness, wasting and paralysis of the muscles of the limbs and trunk, as well as those that control vital functions such as speech, swallowing and breathing. Once ALS starts, it almost always progresses, eventually taking away the ability to walk, dress, write, speak, swallow and breathe, and shortening the life span, according to

What was Ice Bucket Challenge and when did it go viral?

It was a campaign to promote awareness of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, and a way to encourage donations to fund medical research for the same. For the challenge, a person was filmed with a bucket of water and ice being dumped over their head. The individual would then nominate three or more people from their circle to repeat the same task. There was a 24-hour window for the nominated people to complete the challenge and make a donation to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association.

The challenge went viral between July and August of 2014. Social media usage was on an upward swing and the challenge used that medium to reach audiences across the globe. An estimated 17 million people posted these videos and it continued to take place till 2016. The money raised during this two-year period through the challenge helped fund research and development of treatment drugs, according to USA Today. More than $220 million were raised via this campaign.

What led to the challenge's popularity?

Apart from people taking participating on a global level and posting their videos online, this challenge also managed to receive a lot of media attention. It all began when former news anchor Matt Lauer was challenged by professional golfer Greg Norman to take up the challenge in 2014. This too helped sparked an increase in the number of people taking up the challenge.   

Celebrities that took up the challenge

Mark Zuckerberg, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Vin Diesel, Bill Gates, Selena Gomez, Justin Timberlake, Robert Downey Jr and Demi Lovato were some of the celebrities that undertook the challenge.