Basketball player Walt McGrory has died aged just 24.
The former Wisconsin guard made a name for himself at Edina High School in Minnesota – where he set a school-record of 2,216 career points and was the team captain in his junior and senior seasons.
He played for the Wisconsin Badgers college team from 2017-21 and was a key part of the team that secured a share of the Big Ten regular-season title in 2019-20.
Tragically, it has been announced that the basketball star has passed away.
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After announcing that he was planning to transfer to South Dakota in April 2021, McGrory was diagnosed with osteosarcoma – a type of bone cancer that begins in the cells that form bones, as per Mayo Clinic.
The tumour tends to occur in teenagers and young adults, but it can also occur in younger children and older adults.
Sadly, after his three-year battle with cancer, McGrory passed away on December 16.
An Instagram post was uploaded to his account to confirm the news – which described the standout basketball player as an ‘inspiration’.
The caption reads: “Walt became one with the Divine on Saturday, December 16, 2023. His soul was freed to continue his great mission – to live and help others live full, healthy lives. Walt has always known there is something greater out there.
“Something with the full power to shape the world. His journey with osteosarcoma was not easy, but it helped him find that ultimate power source. He never gave up on his belief that he and others just like him could heal themselves.
“His mission has not changed. He is still providing inspiration, love, and fight to those who need it. But now he is doing it with the whole power of the universe behind him. Whenever you need more strength in your life, open your heart and Walt will be there.”
He is survived by his parents, Matthew and Jean, and his sister Mary Claire, who played basketball at Creighton.
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Wisconsin coach Greg Gard paid tribute to his former player in a statement, which read: “Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Walt McGrory.
“The courage and fight that Walt demonstrated throughout his two-year battle with cancer was an inspiration to us all. Walt never quit.
“Instead, he chose to fight every day and made the most of his circumstances by sharing his journey and inspiring others. Walt was a beloved member of our team and the Badger family, and we will miss him dearly.”
Speaking to KARE 11 in Minnesota (via New York Post) earlier this year, McGrory revealed that he had to have his leg amputated due to the cancer – but was adamant that he was not ‘ashamed’ by the procedure.
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He shared: “I didn’t look down right away, I mean, I had the blanket over it and I didn’t really want to look at it for the first few days.
“I’m not ashamed of it or anything. I’ll go to Lifetime Fitness or the gym and I’ll have the crutches.”
McGrory would often post updates about his cancer journey on his social media page – giving his followers an insight into his treatments.
In July 2022, McGrory revealed that the osteosarcoma had returned and spread within his body
“Put it out there to the world, the universe, I guess – that you want to keep living, you know? You kind of do whatever it takes to keep going,” he said.
“That makes me a lot stronger than I’d be on my own.”