Corey Griffin, a philanthropist who was instrumental in making the ALS ice bucket challenge fund-raising drive go viral, has died after drowning in a diving accident off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts.
The 27-year-old’s life was cut tragically short on Saturday (16 August) when he dove off a wharf that serves as a popular diving perch for locals, resurfacing once before disappearing back under the water and drowning.
Griffin “helped turn the ice bucket challenge for ALS into a fund-raising sensation after his friend Pete Frates was diagnosed”, according to an obituary in the Boston Globe, with his father Robert describing him to the newspaper as “the happiest guy in the world”.
“He called me last night and told me he was in paradise,” he added.
Griffin reportedly raised $100,000 at a fundraiser just hours before his death, with the ice bucket challenge having been one of the biggest talking points online in the past few days.
Oprah, Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Lady Gaga, Charlie Sheen, George Bush and the Foo Fighters have all taken part in the campaign, which sees a bucket of ice water dumped over participants’ heads, with even Vladimir Putin being challenged this week.
The drive has so far raised $22.9 million in aid of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
“Helping out was nothing new for Griff,” Frates wrote on Facebook. “He held his own event for me back in 2012, just a few months after diagnosis.
“He worked his butt off these last few weeks for ALS. We texted everyday, planning and scheming ways to raise funds and plan events.”