Purdue super fan who inspired with fight against cancer died


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) – He’d been described as a determined, willful child who has always had trouble saying “no.” 

Tyler Trent, the Purdue University superfan who continued to attend sporting events and classes as he battled cancer, died Tuesday, according to a tweet from the Purdue Cancer Center. He was 20.

Using his Twitter handle, the tweet from the cancer center at 9:04 p.m. said, “It’s with the deepest sorrow that we have to say goodbye to @theTylerTrent. We have all become #TylerStrong. To his family, words can’t express how sorry we are that he has passed. His life May have been short, but his legacy with be forever.”

He received nationwide attention in his battle against cancer. Trent was first diagnosed with cancer when he was 15. He died while suffering from a rare bone cancer.

He was known for leading football fans in loud chants of “Cancer sucks.” 

In 2017, Trent camped with another student to get good seats to a Purdue-Michigan football game, just hours after chemotherapy.

In the 2018 football season, he motivated the Purdue team to upset the Ohio State Buckeyes on national television.

His popularity took his to a wide variety of sports events as news of his bravery inspired many. 

That popularity lead to the creation of a bobblehead earlier this year. It features Tyler in a black and gold Purdue blazer and a “Cancer Sucks” T-shirt, an image approved by Trent in “all capital letters.” The Bottlehead Hall of Fame and Museum has been donating $5 from each bobblehead sold to the V Foundation for Cancer Research and the Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment, charities chosen by Trent himself.

More recently, “The Upset,” his autobiography was made available for preorder. A portion of the proceeds were to go toward Trent’s effort to raise $1 million for cancer research.

Trent earned an associate degree from Purdue in computer information technology.


  • Purdue President Mitch Daniels tweeted: “Heaven has another great Boilermaker tonight. Thank you, Tyler, for all you taught us and the inspiration you left us.”
  • The Indianapolis Colts tweeted: “We’ll forever be inspired by you, @theTylerTrent. Rest in Peace. #TylerStrong.”
  • The Indiana Hoosiers Twitter account: “An inspiration to us all. A life well-lived. #TylerStrong”
  • Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Twitter: “@theTyler Trent was among the biggest, strongest & wisest people you could ever meet. He reminded us what being good is all about. I’m convinced Tyler was touched by our Lord & guided home every step of the way. Janet & I send our love to the Trent family & remain here for them.”
  • Indiana University football coach Tom Allen: “On behalf of @IndianaFootball, our thoughts and prayers are with Tyler Trent’s family. Tyler showed all of us the true essence of courage and fight.”
  • Purdue men’s basketball coach Matt Painter: RIP @theTylerTrent. Your fight, determination and inspiration to so many will not be forgotten. Your impact will continue for many years.”
  • Riley Children’s Foundation tweeted: “Thank you so much for your drive, compassion, intelligence and your inspiring message. We are, and will forever be, #TylerStrong.”
  • College sports commentator Dick Vitale: “Yes Trent Tyler was such an inspiration/ he wanted so badly to help other young ppl / May he RIP U can join many by donating to the TRENT TYLER FUND as @TheVFoundation has a grant in his name.”
  • Former Indianapolis Colts player Pat McAfee: “Rest easy @theTylerTrent… You made the world a better place. You inspired millions. And we were all very lucky to be in your presence… Cheers to a life that made a real difference”
  • Purdue Alumni on Twitter: “Thank you, @theTylerTrent for touching our hearts for changing our lives for uniting our Purdue community. If you would like to help #HammerDownCancer, the @PUCancerCenter has set up the TylerTrent Cancer Research Endowment: http://www.giving.purdue.edu/tylerstrong.”
  • The Indiana Pacers: “We offer our sincere condolences to the family of @theTylerTrent. The courage in which he lived his life was an inspiration to all of us. His legacy will live on.”

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