Ari Schultz, inspiring 5-year-old heart patient who loved the Red Sox, dies

Mark TownsendYahoo Sports Contributor
Big League Stew
Ari Schultz met his hero, <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/9319/" data-ylk="slk:Xander Bogaerts">Xander Bogaerts</a>, and Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez last week. (AriEcho ofHope)
Ari Schultz met his hero, Xander Bogaerts, and Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez last week. (AriEcho ofHope)

Ari Schultz, the 5-year-old Red Sox fan and heart-transplant recipient who inspired millions when his video celebrating leaving Boston Children’s Hospital went viral, has died.

In a heartbreaking Facebook post, his family announced that Ari had died peacefully while listening to his beloved Red Sox on Friday night.

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Ari spent 189 straight days in the hospital preparing for and recovering from his heart transplant. It was on day 187 that he found out he would be going home, and the pure joy on his face was bright enough to light up Fenway Park. He celebrated by breaking out his best Xander Bogaerts impression, rounding the bases after hitting a “two-run homer.”

The Red Sox were aware of the video and were quick to invite Ari and his family to Fenway Park. Ari learned just last week that he was invited to throw out the first pitch before Boston’s game on Aug. 27.

Sadly, that moment will never come, but Ari did get a chance to hang out with his hero, Bogaerts, and Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez last Thursday.

The Red Sox were among the first to offer condolences to the Schultz family.

In his all too short life, Ari Schultz managed to inspire so many people with, as the Red Sox put it, his optimism and unbridled excitement. His smile was infectious. His passion for baseball took all of us back to the days when we first fell in love with it. But it was his unwavering positivity in the face of adversity that made him a hero to all who knew him.

It hurts that he’s gone, but there’s so much he’s left behind that we can take with us and use to make us better people.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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