Washington University basketball star Justin Hardy died on Sunday, just months after helping lead his team to the post-season while playing with stage 4 stomach cancer.
“After 13 months of courageously redefining what it means to live with cancer, Justin passed peacefully early this morning,” his father, Bob Hardy, wrote on Twitter.
Hardy’s coach, Pat Juckem, said in a statement: “We have the awesome responsibility to carry forward his legacy of relentless positivity. To respond to even the toughest of circumstances with the strength and courage that Justin did. In his own words: ‘If you want to win, just give me the ball.’”
After surgery for a perforated ulcer, Hardy received a devastating diagnosis in April 2021: He had stomach cancer and it was terminal.
Despite drastic weight loss as he underwent treatment, Hardy returned to the court for the St. Louis, Missouri, school, playing in 21 games while averaging 11.1 points per game. He had the second-highest scoring average on a team that eventually made it to the second round of the Division III NCAA Tournament.
The senior, who graduated early with a double major, was featured on ESPN multiple times.
“This is me living my life regardless of the circumstances,” Hardy told the network in February. “If this isn’t beating it, I don’t know what is.”