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Southwest Orange Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015 5 years ago

Dr. Phillips community mourns passing of Ian Supra

The young man whose battle with cancer inspired the hashtag "#SupraStrong" passed away early Nov. 24.
by: Steven Ryzewski Senior Sports Editor

DR. PHILLIPS  Thousands around the Dr. Phillips community  — and, indeed, the Central Florida community, at large — woke up Nov. 24 to the sad news that Ian Supra had passed away.

The news was announced via the Facebook page of his mother, Jacqueline Clemons Supra , in the early hours of Nov. 24.

"Early this morning, our precious son, Ian, went home to God. Ian graced so many with his gifts, and we know he will be profoundly missed. We also know you'll remember him for his kindness, humor, and passion for life," read the statement, which was also shared by the "Team Supra" Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Supra, who turned 20 in August, was known for being a funny, kind and positive young man and was a gifted athlete who was a star swimmer and also served as captain of the Dr. Phillips High School boys water polo team.

He was diagnosed with stage IV esophageal cancer in January of 2014.

An outpouring of love and support was directed toward the "Team Supra" Twitter account (@suprastrong_13).

The news of his passing was met with an outpouring of emotion on social media, where friends, classmates, teammates – and even those who never knew him but were inspired by his story — shared memories, condolences or ways in which Supra had affected their lives. Many used the hashtag "#SupraStrong."

In a statement released by Dr. Phillips High School, swim coach Natalie Nickson reflected on her experiences as Supra's coach — and friend — saying:

"As a coach we can wait a lifetime for an athlete like Ian.  The one who not only makes his teammates and the team better instantly, but the one who changes you as a coach and human being.  Ian was that person and so much more.  From the moment he dove in the pool, my life and everyone around him was never the same. ...

Even when he got sick he handled it with all the grace, humor and poise everyone had come to expect from him.  He was more concerned about how everyone else was handling it, than he was about himself.  I remember after a grueling 12 hour surgery in Pittsburgh, when I finally got to see him, one of the first things he said to me was, 'Thank you being so tough on me all those years.  It makes all of this seem easy.'  And we smiled and laughed."

A memorial service for Ian Christopher Supra will be held at 11 a.m. Dec. 12 at St. Luke's Methodist Church.

The Ian C. Supra Memorial Foundation will be announced soon.

Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].

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