Man Who Inspired 'Ice Bucket Challenge,' Which Raised $110 Million to Fight ALS, Dies

Anthony Senerchia Jr. was only 46 years old when he succumbed to the disease, which robs the body of muscle function.

The man who helped inspire the global phenomenon that raised millions of dollars to help combat ALS, has died of the disease. He was only 46 years old.

Anthony Senerchia Jr. of Pelham, N.Y., a loving husband and father, lived for 14 years with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is commonly referred to as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. The debilitating disease robs the body of muscle function.

Senerchia was the inspiration for the so-called "ice bucket challenge," the internet sensation dedicated to raising funds for ALS research.

The simple act of dumping frigid water one's self caught on like wildfire in 2014 as athletes, celebrities, and regular folk participated. Even Inside Edition’s Deborah Norville took part. 

In total, more than $115 million was raised.

Senerchia's widow, Jeanette, told Inside Edition that he was grateful for the nationwide support, and they were overwhelmed by the support the movement received.

“It was surreal, we just couldn’t even believe it that this is happening,” she said. “We would stay up till 1, 2 o’clock in the morning just liking and commenting and thanking people for supporting us.” 

Senerchia is survived by his wife and 9-year-old daughter, Taya. 
"We really, really need to find a cure for this," she told Inside Edition. "It is an absolutely devastating disease."

A memorial fund has been set up for his family. For more information, click here