WASHINGTON - A Virginia 13-year-old who threw out the first pitch at a Washington Nationals game earlier this season died Tuesday after a battle with brain cancer.
His death comes less than a month after he spent quality time with his favorite baseball player, Bryce Harper.
Gavin Rupp, a Nats fan from Ashburn with a passion for baseball, was first diagnosed with brain cancer in 2011. After battling the disease, he found out last month his tumor was inoperable, The Washington Post reports.
Rupp threw out the first pitch at the July 5 Nationals game and got to meet Harper after the organization learned of his diagnosis. In fact, Rupp got to do more than meet the outfielder — the two spent an hour together before the Nats faced the San Diego Padres.
They talked about baseball parks and pregame rituals and exchanged autographs, MLB.com reports.
Harper signed a hat, mitt and bat for the 13-year-old. Then, last year's National League Rookie of the Year asked Rupp to sign a baseball.
"I'll put this in my locker," Harper said, according to MLB.com.
Rupp's death shook the 20-year-old Harper, and he took to Twitter Tuesday to express his grief and condolences for the Rupp family.
Deeply saddened by the news I received shortly after the game! Gavin Rupp is a hero not only to me, but to many around! My condolences go— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) July 31, 2013
out to his family and he will forever be in my heart and my mind! Much love buddy and I will be playing for you! #CANCERSUCKS— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) July 31, 2013
Harper added on Twitter that he will be playing for Rupp, a "warrior."
The Nats learned of Rupp through Kyle's Kamp, which raises money for Children's National Medical Center's cancer research. To find out more, click here.
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