ALIQUIPPA (KDKA) — The Aliquippa School District is mourning the loss of a young man who was one of the most promising members of their high school football team.
In a statement, the school district on Tuesday evening reported the death of 19-year-old DiMantae Bronaugh following a brave battle with cancer.
The full statement reads:
“The Aliquippa School District is deeply saddened by the loss of a member of our school community, DiMantae Bronaugh, grade 12 student, in the Aliquippa Junior/Senior High School. He was a remarkable young man and a true asset to the school community. Tragically, his life ended way too soon. The school district’s thoughts and prayers are with his family in this time of sorrow and sadness. It is important that we all remain #24 STRONG for his family and our students.”
Last year, Bronaugh was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. After being in remission, the cancer returned this past August, denying him the chance to return to the football field.
Amy Wadas’ Report:
Earlier this month, Bronaugh was allowed to leave the hospital to cheer on his teammates from the sidelines during the WPIAL championships at Heinz Field.
“Anyone who knows Dimantae knows he did everything with love. He wanted to make other people smile,” said Aliquippa High School senior Kenny Rainey.
The Aliquippa football team and the entire community are now mourning the loss of No. 24.
“I’m sad that I lost my brother,” said Alexander Riggins, a senior at Aliquippa High School. “He had been fighting and trying to get back, but I am happy that he’s with God and done suffering.”
“I’m just going to miss seeing him,” added Eli Kosanovich, an Aliquippa sophomore. “He was so kind and he worked his butt off all the time.”
Cancer survivor and Pitt Panthers star James Conner tweeted a tribute to Bronaugh on Tuesday night.
Bronaugh’s doctors at UPMC Children’s Hospital said his only hope was a bone marrow transplant from someone who shares his ancestry.
The community came together in recent weeks to try and find a donor. The Steelers’ wives held a bone marrow drive, as did several neighboring school districts.
But only seven percent of bone marrow registry members are black, which made it even more difficult to find a match.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin also remembered Bronaugh with a tweet Tuesday evening.
Before his diagnosis, Bronaugh rushed for 1,200 yards and led his Aliquippa football team to the WPIAL Class AA title.
Aliquippa School District officials say grief counselors will be on hand at the high school on Wednesday for students and staff. Students at the elementary school can also request counseling sessions if they feel they need to.