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Andrew Smith dies following battle with cancer

Posted at 4:29 PM, Jan 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-12 23:50:33-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- Andrew Smith, a former standout Butler basketball player, died Tuesday following his second battle with cancer.

Smith's wife Samantha tweeted that he had passed away in his sleep "and in my arms" Tuesday morning.

"Andrew packed more living in his 25 years than most of us will enjoy in a full 75 years," Smith's father Curt said. "He lived his faith, relished his family, selflessly served his wife, and pursued his passion of basketball at the highest levels."

Smith beat the disease once in 2014, after his heart gave out and he was technically dead for 22 minutes.

READ | A Bulldog's battle

Despite the good news he received, the cancer returned in May 2015.

Smith was battling lymphoma which turned into leukemia.

He underwent a bone marrow transplant in early November 2015. Smith used the experience to spread the word about the importance of bone marrow registration.

"Samantha and I want to use the platform we have been given, and the information we have learned going through the process ourselves, to inform people how important this really is," Smith said in September 2015.

PREVIOUS | Former Butler basketball player hosting bone marrow registry

After the transplant, Smith’s wife wrote a letter to her husband’s donor, a 20-year-old man:

I know that your priorities are so much greater than mine were when I was 20-years old. I know that, for the past seven days, you have gone out of your way to drive to the hospital to get your Neupogen shots to prepare your body for this donation. I know that you will walk away from the hospital after you’ve donated and wonder if you’ve made a difference, and if your bone marrow will actually change someone’s life. I know that the answer to those questions is a resounding “yes.” I know that all you have been told about Andrew is his age and gender. But what else do you know about us? What do you know about the person that you have disrupted your own life to save? Nothing. All that you know is that someone on this earth is very sick and needs help, but that’s enough for you. You know nothing about me, and I know very little about you, but I love you.

In early December, Samantha Smith posted to her blog that the transplant had failed. On Jan. 6, she tweeted, asking the public for prayers.

MORE | Andrew Smith's condition worsening, wife pleads for prayers

That evening, Boston Celtics head coach (and former Butler men's basketball head coach) Brad Stevens left his team to be with Andrew and his family.

Andrew and Samantha had been married for about two-and-a-half years. She’s frequently written that they’ve been through 10-20 years’ worth of issues in their time together.

Smith, who was 25, played for Butler for four years, in more than 130 games. He was a major contributor in the two Final Four runs the team had in 2010 and 2011.

Butler President James Danko and Director of Athletics Barry Collier released a joint statement Tuesday following Smith's passing:

“The Butler community is profoundly sad today with the news of Andrew’s passing. We saw the way Andrew fought on the basketball court and we saw the way he fought for his health. In both cases, we saw the best of Andrew Smith. But that’s what we always saw from Andrew. He gave his all, all the time. As an Academic All-American, he represented the best of Butler in the classroom and on the court. Above all else, what made Andrew special was the way that he genuinely cared for others. Within his large frame was an even larger heart. He is, was, and always will be a Bulldog. The Butler community is proud to have been part of his life, and our thoughts are with his wife, Samantha; his parents, Debbie and Curt; and the rest of his family.” 

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