ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin, 27, drowns

ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin, 27, drowns
One of the pioneers of the ice bucket challenge, Corey Griffin (left), 27, has died after a diving accident. Photo: Corey Griffin's Facebook page
Published: 12:44 AM, August 21, 2014
Updated: 1:10 AM, August 21, 2014

MASSACHUSETTS — A 27-year-old philanthropist who played a key role in turning the ice bucket challenge into an internet viral sensation to raise funds for research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has died in a diving accident off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts.

According to reports, Corey Griffin died at 3am on Saturday (Aug 16), after jumping from the roof of a two-story building — a popular diving perch for locals — into Nantucket Harbor. After resurfacing once, he disappeared beneath the waves. He was pulled from the water and CPR was administered before he was taken to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Mr Michael Greeley, a friend of Griffin’s and family spokesman, told Bloomberg that Griffin suffered two crushed vertebrae in the accident.

Before his death, Griffin had attended a charity function on Nantucket Island on Friday night, where he helped raise US$100,000 (S$125,000) in donations to fight ALS, in honour of his friend Pete Frates, who has been at the centre of the viral ice bucket challenge project to raise money and increase awareness of the disease, reported The Boston Globe.

Griffin was among a group of friends helping to raise funds for Mr Frates. The ice bucket campaign involves dumping buckets of ice water over the heads of famous athletes and other celebrities to raise funds. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

According to The Independent, the drive has so far raised US$22.9 million in aid of ALS.

Mr Frates wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday: “Team FrateTrain lost a good friend today, Corey Griffin.

“Helping out was nothing new for Griff. 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.”