Yesterday came the saddest of sad news out of Baltimore: the passing of Ravens and Orioles superfan Mo Gaba at the age of 14. At the time of Gaba’s death he was in the middle of his fifth bout with cancer, having spent most of his life in hospitals receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
First diagnosed with cancer at the age of nine months, Gaba subsequently lost his vision. But that didn’t stop him from making a huge impact on the sports world and becoming an inspirational figure in Maryland, thanks to his fearlessness and ability to maintain an upbeat attitude even in the face of the most daunting health challenges.
Gaba rose to prominence five years ago after he started calling Baltimore sports radio station 105.7 The Fan to talk sports while his mother was at work. (His mother remained unaware until Gaba’s elementary school advised that her son had extended an invitation for talk show hosts to speak at his school, according to ESPN.)
Ravens Coach John Harbaugh Expresses his Condolences
Gaba went on to make friends with many members of the Baltimore Ravens organization, not to mention MLB’s Baltimore Orioles. In 2019, he became the first person to ever announce an NFL draft pick while reading it in Braille, bringing tears to the eyes of the men in the Ravens War Room when he related the selection of fourth-round pick Ben Powers, a guard from Oklahoma.
Honored to share this special moment with Mo. He’ll never know how many lives he touched. He will always have a special place in my heart. Rest In Peace Mo💜 https://t.co/oHsY3I2Xws
— Bennett Powers (@BigBen_72) July 29, 2020
In the wake of Gaba’s death, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh issued a statement saying: “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….. He represents the best of us and has left an indelible mark on so many. I thank God that he was brought into my life.”
"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." pic.twitter.com/xPvHKHfsjr
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) July 29, 2020
Introducing Mo Gaba to Steelers Nation
The news also generated an outpouring of support from Pittsburgh Steelers fans, who posted news of Gaba’s passing and expressed condolences on Reddit’s Steelers page, not to mention several other Steelers-oriented channels.
Steelers fans said they were getting “choked up” reading about his story, and called Gaba a “remarkable” and inspirational figure. So now Gaba will live on in the minds of both Ravens and Steelers fans.
Meanwhile, one expects that the Ravens will find a way to honor Gaba this season.
One Ravens fan suggested that the team paint its end zones with “BaltiMOre” for this year’s home games, a fitting tribute for someone who touched countless lives during the short time he was with us.
I’d love to see the @Ravens end zones painted with “BaltiMOre” this season to honor #MoStrong, a kid that embodied the heart, determination, & truly all of the qualities that the phrase “Play Like A Raven” represents.
— ABMore (@AdamBMore) July 29, 2020
On the morning of his death, Gaba was elected into the Baltimore Orioles’ team Hall of Fame as the second-ever recipient of the Wild Bill Hagy Award, which is given to “fans who have inspired others with their devotion to the team, and demonstrated an exceptional commitment in support of the Orioles.”
Our most dedicated fan is forever with us in our Hall of Fame. pic.twitter.com/usFYQk7s0p
— Baltimore Orioles 😷 (@Orioles) July 28, 2020
In a statement announcing his election to the Hall of Fame, the team said: “Mo’s positive energy has been constant throughout every battle and continues to bring the entire city of Baltimore together in the face of ongoing crisis…. Mo Gaba has impacted more people in his 14 years than most people do in an entire lifetime, and the Orioles are honored to forever celebrate him as a member of the Orioles Hall of Fame.”
Earlier this month, Gaba hosted “The Big Mo Show” with 105.7 The Fan’s Jeremy Conn, fulfilling his dream of hosting his own sports talk radio show.
On July 21, Mo’s mother Sonsy asked for prayers on Facebook, advising that her son was no longer on active treatment and that his cancer was progressing.
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