Lauren Hill, the 19-year-old who battled terminal brain cancer and had love for basketball that inspired many, died Friday, according to reports.
Hill gained headlines as she fulfilled her dream last November of playing collegiate basketball for Ohio's Mount St. Joseph's University. She had been diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma after she turned 18 in October 2013.
"To put my foot down on the floor and hear the roar of the crowd -- I just love it so much. I love basketball," Hill said after the game, where over 10,000 people attended, according to the Associated Press.
The away game was originally scheduled for later in the month, but the NCAA allowed it to be moved up due to Hill's condition. It was also held at Xavier University to accommodate the large, sold out crowd.
Hill, suffering from an inoperable brain tumor and given only months to live, used her story to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer through her foundation, Layup4Lauren, which directs proceeds to The Cure Starts Now. The foundation announced on Facebook following Hill's death that the teen had raised $1.4 million.
Her story gained the attention of many athletes, including Lebron James, who called Hill "amazing":
Hill exchanged jerseys with Cincinnati Bengals' player Devon Still, whose own daughter is battling cancer:
Had the honor and the pleasure to meet Lauren Hill today at her bball practice..this jersey swap is the most memorable that I will ever have...her strength is beyond inspirational...if you haven't heard her story please don't scroll pass this post without copying this link and watching her story http://youtu.be/hsU24D42PgQ #BeatCancer
Hill's Indiana high school retired her number in November and she had also been featured on a Wheaties box:
However, behind many of the motivational headlines, Hill said was difficulty and heartbreak.
"You can turn it into a happy story, which is good," Hill said. "But it's hard. It's really, really hard."
In an emotional interview last month, Hill's deteriorating condition was apparent. But even amidst her tears, the teenager's focus remained on ensuring that people will continue to donate for research, explaining how radiation and treatment has taken its toll.
"I feel like I can do it. I can stand up and go walk and play. And go play in that playground out there, if there is one. I can't remember because radiation has fried my brain. They need to find better treatments," Hill said.
Mout St. Joseph's announced earlier this week that an event would be held on April 12 to benefit Hill's Layup4Lauren foundation.
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