Friends Say Emotional Goodbye To Basketball Player

Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images.
Update: Mourners for Lauren Hill packed the college basketball arena where she played her first basketball game to pay respects to the teen on Monday. Hill's casket was moved into the 10,000 seat arena, where friends, teammates, and admirers could say goodbye.

This post was originally published on April 10, 2015.

A 19-year-old girl whose fight against cancer included raising more than a million dollars for charity and one season as a college basketball star died early Friday morning.

Lauren Hill was a freshman at Mount St. Joseph University near Cincinnati. Last year, as she was finishing her senior year of high school and preparing herself to play basketball, doctors discovered a tumor that proved to be untreatable. Hill's terminal diagnosis inspired her to dedicate herself to raising money for cancer research and treatment, and even a rapidly progressing tumor did not stop her from starting college last fall. 

After Hill's conditioned worsened, her teammates asked the NCAA to move the opening game of Mount St. Joseph's season up by two weeks, so that she could play at least one game. On November 2, Hill scored the first and last points against Hiram College.

"I never thought I would play on a college court, put my feet on the floor and feel the vibration of the crowd," she told ESPN after the game. She played in four games before her health deteriorated too much for her to continue.

In the year and a half between her diagnosis and her death, the Indiana native also dedicated herself to raising awareness and money for the study of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a rare form of cancer that typically affects young children.

Shortly after new broke of Hill's passing, NBA superstar LeBron James offered condolences on Twitter, ending his message "Until we officially meet again, take care and continue to be that LEADER we all love! #RIPLaurenHill"
Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images.
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Hill's foundation raised more than $1.5 million for cancer research, including $40,000 on the day of her first basketball game.
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