Friend of man behind ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ dies

(CNN) — A friend of the man who inspired the viral “Ice Bucket Challenge” died this weekend in a diving accident.

An off-duty lifeguard happened to be nearby and recovered Corey Griffin, 27, from the bottom of the harbor, police in Nantucket, Massachusetts, said in a statement. He was transported to an area hospital and was pronounced dead early Saturday morning.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is a social media campaign that aims to raise awareness and money to fight Lou Gehrig’s disease, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

According to CNN affiliate WCVB, Griffin died within hours of raising $100,000 for an ALS charity.

“Helping out was nothing new for Griff. He held his own event for me back in 2012, just a few months after diagnosis. He worked his butt off these last few weeks for ALS. We texted everyday, planning and scheming ways to raise funds and plan events,” Pete Frates posted on his Facebook account.

Frates, a former baseball player at Boston College, has been living with ALS since 2012.

He floated the idea of the challenge and his former teammates, as well as other Boston-area athletes, took him up on it. It was noticed and covered by local media and that attention, along with the social Web’s viral nature, launched it onto a much larger stage.

Athletes, celebrities and politicians, as well as everyday folks, have gotten in on the act.

The idea is simple: dump a bucket of ice cold water over your head, then challenge a friend, or friends, to either do the same or donate money to the ALS Association. And it’s making a difference.

The ALS Association reports that it received $13.3 million in donations from July 29 to August 17, compared to $1.7 million during the same time last year.

CNN’s Doug Gross contributed to this report.

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