"It is with great regret and sadness that our dear friend and loved one, Dan Toler, passed away peacefully in his sleep last night," a post on Toler's Facebook page said.
ALS is a paralyzing condition where the brain's and spinal cord's nerve cells gradually die, thereby affecting motor function, according to the ALS Association. The condition may start out with muscle weakness, but as the nerve cells degenerate, it can eventually lead to total paralysis.
According to the Mayo Clinic, this paralysis will eventually affect a person's ability to breathe and eat, leading to death.
Most of the time, there is no clear cause for ALS, according to the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins University. However, few cases can be traced to genetics.
There is no cure for ALS, but there are treatments these days to prolong the lifespans of people with the condition. Physical therapy and medications can help with some of the symptoms, and devices like wheelchairs and breathing machines can help a person with ALS to maintain mobility, the Mayo Clinic reported.
Recently, NPR reported on research in mice showing that stem cells could potentially slow ALS onset.
ALS is pretty rare, only occurring in about 2 out of every 100,000 people each year, according to the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins University. About half of people who are diagnosed with the condition survive two years later; one in five live five years after diagnosis, and as many as one in 10 live 10 years or more after diagnosis.
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