Boxer Omar Henry craved the spotlight and hoped one day to become the undisputed super welterweight champion.
Sadly, though, Henry only became a star in death, when he died at 25 Friday in a Chicago hospital following a short fight with gall bladder cancer.
Henry, who was 12-0-1, was supposed to fight on Showtime on Nov. 16. But he didn't feel well a few days before the fight, went to see his doctor and was diagnosed with Stage 4 gall bladder cancer.
He posted a series of heart-wrenching messages on his Facebook fan page in which he pleaded for prayers and support. Perhaps the most tragic was his Jan. 9 post, when he said he hoped to live to celebrate his 26th birthday on Feb. 8.
Sadly, he fell a week short of that goal.
I got exactly less than 1 month left until my 26th birthday February 8. Hopefully I live to see it. I really have been getting a lot of support with kind words and prayers from all over the world with this battle with cancer. Thank you and I will continue to fight for us!!!!
After being diagnosed, Henry also did a series of interviews with reporters from boxing websites in which he expressed optimism that he would survive the deadly diagnosis.
In an interview with FightHype published on Dec. 12, Henry said he felt blessed but was struggling to think of the future.
As of right now, I got a lot of mixed feelings. Overall, I feel blessed. I'm living right now, but I've been taking it one day at a time because it makes my head hurt and body ache thinking too far ahead.
In that same interview, he spoke of the odd twist of fate, of reaching a major career goal and then shortly thereafter learning he had only weeks to live.
I will find out tomorrow if I'm free of cancer or if I won't be here to see 2013. That's what they told me. Life and death has never come so close, especially since I was so close to the top and being close to the top of my career. I was about to headline Showtime at 25 years old, in the prime of my career. Now, I could literally be dead tomorrow, and this is the scariest thing I can think of. God has a purpose and we can't question God.
Henry posted on Facebook on Sunday and vowed to continue to fight for his life and thanked fans for their support during his battle.
To all my friends and loyal fans I want to inform you all that I am fighting the fight of my life against a disease known as gallbladder cancer. While lm in this current state I am fighting with my family by my side and I will not go down for the count. I am a champion who has chosen to fight not just for myself but for those who's faith is believing in what u cant see, and i will continue to fight!!!!!and fight!!!!!and fight!!!!!till I knock this sickness out. Your love and support mean the most to me, your prayers are prayers not only to me but to others like me. Please be advised l am grateful for any and all support in any kind of way please inbox me. My family has continued to be by my side, and its hard for them as well. I want to thank God for unconditional love and unconditional fans.
Henry's passing is a tragic and heart-breaking story that highlights the fragility of life. His family can be proud of the way he handled his fate and became an inspiration to others.
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