The Red Sox’ biggest fan, five-year-old Ari Schultz, passed away on Friday, just one month after receiving a heart transplant. During his short life, Ari had undergone over 20 surgeries and been in a two-week coma.
Ari was released on June 16 from Boston Children’s Hospital, but on July 20, he suffered a seizure and was re-admitted. He had been placed on life support after coding but did not recover.
Ari, who suffered from critical aortic stenosis and evolving hypoplastic left heart syndrome while in utero, became famous over night after his parents shared a video of him celebrating the news of his hospital release while wearing a Red Sox jersey and swinging a baseball bat.
In the video that went viral, he imitated his favorite player, Xander Bogaerts, knocking a two-run home run out of the park.
Red Sox catcher Christian Vasquez and Bogaerts visited Ari when he was home from the hospital, presenting him a personalized jersey and catcher’s mask. They also invited him to Fenway Park on August 27 to throw the first pitch.
After learning of Ari’s death, the Red Sox immediately tweeted a picture of their biggest fan with teammates following a hospital visit, captioned, “Some fans make an instant impact on our team. Ari Schultz, with his optimism & unbridled excitement, is at the top. We’ll miss you, Ari.”
Some fans make an instant impact on our team. Ari Schultz, with his optimism & unbridled excitement, is at the top. We’ll miss you, Ari. pic.twitter.com/MIQrbE7ZZ7
— Red Sox (@RedSox) July 22, 2017
A Facebook post from his family read: “Ari passed away peacefully this evening listening to the Red Sox.”
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