CLEVELAND — Tom Seipel, the passionate Browns fan who spent some of his last days getting to watch the team he loves succeed, has died at the age of 39 after a more than three-year battle with kidney cancer.
Siepel’s mother shared an update on his condition to his Facebook account Friday, saying his condition deteriorated and he had been admitted to the emergency room. His mother said his family was able to visit him and he was able to waive at his daughter through his room window.
A friend posted an update from Seipel’s Instagram account on Saturday that he had passed.
Siepel is survived by his wife Margarita, his daughter Mia, his parents Tom and Anita, and "many students, friends and family all over the world," his family said.
While working as a missionary, pastor, and high school teacher in Nicaragua three years ago, Seipel, an Ohio native, learned that he had kidney cancer.
Seipel battled through numerous treatments and tried different medications to fight cancer, but at the end of December was placed in hospice.
After receiving the news, Seipel reached out to his fellow fans on the online forum Reddit and was flooded with messages of love and support.
Thanks to fellow Browns fans, Seipel had a whirlwind couple of weeks with messages of support from quarterback Baker Mayfield and his wife Emily to an outpouring of donations, to the GoFundMe set up for his family—and even was surprised with a trip to Cleveland where he got to see the Browns beat the Steelers to make it into the playoffs and meet the Mayfields in person.
Seipel had described the entire experience in his final days as a “storybook ending.”
Baker Mayfield took to social media to issue his condolences, writing, "Rest In Peace Tom. Your pure heart will never be forgotten."
The GoFundMe account set up for Seipel will see funds donated to his family, especially his wife and his daughter.
Before his death, Seipel left a special message to his daughter, who shared his love for the Browns.
“She loves the Browns,” Seipel said. “But the message I want to leave behind [for her] is: Life is about love. I hope she learns that from me.”
The Seipel family is accepting donations to the GoFundMe account to help with life expenses and education for Seipel's wife and daughter. To learn more, click here.