Tyler Trent has passed away, the Trent family announced Tuesday night.
Battling a third round with the rare bone cancer osteosarcoma, Trent became a national inspiration during the college football season. An aspiring sportswriter, Trent became synonymous with the Purdue football program, most notably during the Boilermakers’ 49-20 upset of Ohio State in October.
He became close with Boilers head coach Jeff Brohm and the entire program, battling through the doldrums of his fight with cancer to join the team home and away, including serving as the honorary captain for their Old Oaken Bucket rivalry with Indiana and traveling to their season-ending Music City Bowl last week.
He received the Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest honor an Indiana civilian can receive. He also won the Disney Spirit Award at the college football awards show in December.
“The warm emotions of calling a Rose Bowl… and then to hear news of Tyler Trent’s passing,” ESPN’s Chris Fowler wrote on Twitter. “Thank you, Tyler and the Trent family for giving millions the gift of your bravery and relentless spirit. I will never forget you or that magical night in West Lafayette. Be at peace.”
“His passion for life, his passion for Purdue football, his passion to do whatever he could, even in the midst of this crazy, horrible journey that he was on,” said Jamie Renbarger, Trent’s doctor at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, via the Indianapolis Star. “He still wanted to help people. He was just a really genuine human being.”
Trent’s cancer was first diagnosed in 2014 but beat the disease and recorded a near perfect SAT score, which earned him a scholarship to Purdue.
When the cancer returned in 2017, surgeons removed his pelvis and put in a temporary fixture just so he could attend school this fall. He would then make the seven-and-a-half hour drive home for chemotherapy on weekends.
“What gave him a sense of love and purpose touched all of us and inspired all of us,” Brohm told the Indianapolis Star. “There was no quit in him. There was a lot of fight in him. It’s like you couldn’t get him down. While I’m sure he was in pain and suffering, he put a smile on his face.”
Tyler Trent was 20 years old.