Mo Gaba, who became a celebrity in Maryland for being the most inspirational and passionate fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Baltimore Ravens, died on July 28, 2020. He was 14.
The news was confirmed by 105.7’s The Fan radio host Jeremy Conn. He tweeted, “I can’t begin to put into words what I’m feeling. I tried to finish my show after I found out and I couldn’t. I am so privileged to call you a friend and to be a part of your life. You stole my heart. You accomplished more in 14 years than most do in a lifetime. I love you!”
Earlier on Tuesday, Gaba, who’s been blind since he was 9 months old and has battled several bouts of cancer, was elected into the Orioles’ team Hall of Fame as the second-ever recipient of The Wild Bill Hagy Award, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Gaba, who spent 75% of his life in hospitals receiving aggressive chemotherapy treatments, radiation and a bone marrow transplant, became the first person to announce an NFL Draft pick while reading it in braille, Barrett Sports Media reported. He was also recently named an honorary Baltimore Police Lieutenant, according to CBS Baltimore.
Gaba’s mother, Sonsy Gaba, shared on her Facebook page that he was struggling with his fifth bout of cancer. She wrote on July 21:
So I haven’t given an update on Mo’s health in a while. Well, as you know Mo’s last scans about a month or so ago showed that things have gotten worse and the treatment wasn’t working. But after a scare last night and a trip to the ER, further scans show that things haven’t improved. Mo is no longer on active treatment so as much as I wished the tumors would slow down, they haven’t. He is feeling a little better this morning thank goodness, but learning that there is tumor progression broke my heart even more. Please everyone if you could, please continue to pray for our family and especially for my love bug. Of course, Mo being Mo, keeps telling me to calm down and not to worry about him. He’s okay.
Gaba’s 8th Grade Graduation Celebration in June Included a Visit By Ravens & Orioles Players
Gaba, originally from Glen Burnie, Maryland, left a large mark on the sports world. In June, a drive-by parade to celebrate him graduating the eighth grade included an appearance by Ravens offensive lineman Bradley Bozeman.
Bozeman offered Gaba a game ball that was inscribed with the message “#MoStrong.” In response, Gaba said, “Actually, this doesn’t go to me. This goes to my mom,” ESPN reported.
In order to make the celebration parade work, police closed off his block for more than 30 minutes, only allowing cars there for Gaba to pass through. He received orange balloons — the Orioles’ color, of course — with a braille message that read, “Way to go big guy!”
“If we all had a little more Mo in us,” Bozeman said, “the world would be a lot better place.” When Ravens head coach John Harbaugh heard that Gaba was struggling, he put out the following statement, “We’re asking everyone to pray for our No. 1 fan.”
Gaba had support from many players on the Baltimore team. Willie Snead IV tweeted on Tuesday, “Stay Strong Mo Gaba White heart You are always in our thoughts & prayers #MoStrong @Ravens @RavensCommunity @NFL.”
Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini, who got to spend a full day with Gaba two years ago during the All-Star break, almost made a visit. He said, “Mo is without a doubt the most fearless and special person I have ever met in my life. He brightens the day of every person he comes in contact with. No matter what the situation, he always has a smile on his face and is beyond kind to everyone he meets. He has taught me what it means to persevere and make every day count,” ESPN reported.
Twitter Filled With Moving Tributes Dedicated to Gaba & His Family
Gaba became a beloved sports fan in his home town five years ago after he secretly called The Fan radio station to discuss sports while his mother was at work. Gaba’s mother didn’t discover her son was regularly calling into the radio station until his elementary school contacted her after he invited the show’s hosts to speak at his school, according to ESPN.
Over the years, Gaba became a beloved superfan. The Fan gave him his own intro music when he called in — “Glass Shatters” by Disturbed, which was the original theme for wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin — and he would offer his predictions for which team would win the day’s game.
Following Gaba’s death, the Ravens put out an official statement. They tweeted, “The world has lost a beautiful spirit and a shining light. With his infectious laugh, amazing love of life and love of Baltimore sports, Mo captured the hearts of not only our organization but the entire state of Maryland.”