A Brampton teenager whose successful, months-long quest to meet NBA star LeBron James has died of cancer.
“Corey was a stand-up boy, a scholar and a gentleman. He saw the good in everyone and the beauty in everything,” a post written by Corey Groves’ aunt Sherry on his Instagram account Monday evening said.
“His only wish was to shake the hand of his hero. Corey is and will always be our hero.”
The post said Groves “tackled life head-on” and died on Halloween.
His family also praised entertainers NELK Boys for meeting with Groves and Raptors “superfan” Nav Bhatia for help facilitating the meeting with James.
“He was blessed to have met a lot of great, amazing people who once got to know him, loved and appreciated him for who he was, the strong, intelligent, funny good guy forever in our hearts,” the post said, appealing for anyone who met with Groves to share their pictures, videos and stories with the family.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to again thank you all for your love, continued support and unbelievable generosity. It’s greatly appreciated!”
Global News spoke with the 17-year-old Groves at Credit Valley Hospital on Jan. 2, a week after he met with James.
“I feel happy. I know it’s simple, but it really made me happy. There’s no words to describe how I feel,” he said at the time.
In May 2019, the teen was diagnosed with stage four sarcoma cancer and given less than a year to live. The diagnosis left him with the goal of accomplishing his mission of meeting James and shaking his hand.
For about three months, they tried to get a hold of the Lakers and LeBron through different means, including the Children’s Wish Foundation. But they said they never heard back and that’s when Bhatia got involved.
He said he met the teen and told him that he would do all he could to make his dream come true. Bhatia then touched base with LeBron’s agent while he was in Toronto and made the request for Groves to meet the Lakers’ forward.
Children’s Wish Foundation sent Groves and his mother on a week-long trip to Los Angeles right before Christmas, including going to see Universal Studios.
It wasn’t until Christmas Eve Groves and his mother found out they were actually going to meet the basketball legend and attend the Lakers’ game.
“I would have to say another amazing part was just seeing the smile on his face that I brought upon him,” Groves said in January.