Walt McGrory Cause of Death: College basketball fans are honoring Walt McGrory, the Wisconsin Badgers’ standout, who died on Saturday at the age of 24 while undergoing treatment for bone cancer. McGrory’s death was reported on his Instagram account on Monday, where he had been documenting his battle with osteosarcoma.
The sickness struck the young athlete in 2021, months after he declared his intention to transfer from the University of Wisconsin—Madison to the University of South Dakota. “On Saturday, December 16, 2023, Walt became one with the Divine,” his family stated in a tribute message on his Instagram profile.
“His soul was freed to carry on his great mission of living and helping others live full, healthy lives.” Walt has always suspected that there is something more out there. Something has complete control over the earth.”
“His journey with osteosarcoma was not easy, but it helped him find that ultimate power source,” continued the statement. “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.“
The heartfelt post concluded with an encouraging message: “Whenever you need more strength in your life, open your heart, and Walt will be there.“
McGrory’s honest and forthright social media posts served as evidence of his strength during his cancer battle. The cancer began in his shin but advanced to his knee, necessitating a partial amputation of his left leg.
Cancer also had an impact on McGrory’s lungs. He had surgery on his left lung in August, the first stage before moving on to the right. However, after removing 20 tumors, it was determined that “around 30-40 were not resectable” and that more treatment to decrease the tumors was required before operating again—treatment that, according to McGrory, medical experts “haven’t been able to find yet these past two years.”
“But we will keep searching and fighting no matter what,” he said. “Things may be getting more serious and urgent, but we’ve faced a lot of setbacks in the past two years, and this is nothing more than that. Giving up is not an option! A lot of people say that, but when things get really tough they give themselves a way out. Well, in my case there literally is no way out.“
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Throughout his hospital stay, his family, friends, and former teammates gathered behind him. This week, many people posted memories of McGrory on Instagram, which McGrory’s family has now published on his Instagram Story. Among the memories was a resounding appreciation for McGrory’s perseverance in the face of adversity, even until the end.
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“There have been lonely days and nights of the soul, but I have never been more optimistic than now,” he wrote in September while promoting a GoFundMe for experimental treatments not covered by his insurance plan. “Your kindness and love give me the strength needed to win this fight, no matter how many rounds it takes. There is a cure out there.”
“Honestly, I’m tired of telling this story of my past. What excites me is telling the story of my future,” he said. “It’s close, I can feel it.”
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McGrory was a basketball superstar. According to FOX-9, he joined Edina High School’s varsity squad in eighth grade and went on to captain it in his junior and senior years. In 2017, he set the school’s all-time scoring record with 2,126 points.
He joined the Wisconsin Badgers as a guard in 2017 and appeared in 37 games throughout his four seasons with the NCAA Division I collegiate basketball club. McGrory was a member of the Badgers’ team that shared the Big Ten regular-season title in 2019–20. On Monday, Wisconsin coach Greg Gard remembered McGrory in a statement on the team’s official Instagram account.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Walt McGrory,” he said. “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.“
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