The man who had inspired the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Pete Frates, is not dead. And he took a rather creative route in reassuring his friends, family, and social media followers that he’s okay — by posting a brief clip of him resting in bed at the Massachusetts General Hospital, as Pearl Jam’s grunge classic “Alive” played in the background.
According to a report from Salem News, reports of Pete Frates’ death had first circulated on Monday morning, sending the 32-year-old former Boston College baseball player’s family into a panic. These reports came not long after Frates had been admitted to the hospital after suffering from an “episode” and put his family under great stress and panic.
Pete’s father, John Frates, talked Salem News through what he and other family members had been going through upon hearing the false reports of his son’s death. After initially failing to get Pete’s nurse on the line, a nursing supervisor called John back to inform him that his son was alright, with Pete himself following up with his own message of reassurance for his loved ones.
“It turned out that it was punctuated by the comic relief that Pete provided us,” John Frates told Salem News.
That “comic relief” following the Pete Frates death rumors was a clip from Pete, showing him in his hospital bed, as the chorus of the 1991 Pearl Jam hit “Alive” did the speaking for him.
As Salem News recounted, Pete Frates has survived for the past five years since he was first diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. He has since lost his ability to talk, walk, or move his limbs, and is forced to communicate through eye movement. According to parents John and Nancy Frates, Pete’s medical bills usually exceed $80,000 to $95,000 a month due to the variety of treatments he has to receive for his condition.
Meanwhile, the reporter who had erroneously reported on Pete Frates’ death is dealing with the fallout over the tweet he sent on Monday morning, seemingly confirming the passing of the plucky young man who had inspired the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. According to MassLive, journalist Mike Barnicle quickly deleted the original tweet after being informed that Frates is alive, but he has been dealing with harsh comments from social media users, who believe that his apology isn’t sufficient or sincere enough, considering the stress his erroneous tweet had brought upon Pete’s family and friends.
[Featured Image by Steven Senne/AP Images]