Clemson fan's battle with brain cancer ends at age 19

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- The teen who battled brain cancer for 11 years and served as a point of inspiration for the Clemson Tigers died Friday afternoon, family members said.{}

In November and fresh off a visit to Clemson, 19-year-old Erik Simao beamed about meeting football coach Dabo Swinney, basketball coach Brad Brownell, and baseball coach Jack Leggett.

"It's a privilege any time I get a chance to help someone smile; it's a blessing for me more than him," said Swinney in November.{} "I've met him a few times, it's great to see him enjoy the game, the environment, meet a lot of people."

Simao battled through four bouts of cancer. Through it all, he remained upbeat and looked forward to another trip to the land of orange.

"Having Clemson as an aside is awesome.{}It gives you something to look forward to.{}When you get a break from treatments and doctors, it's a nice thing to look forward to," said Simao last year.{}

For Clemson and Simao, their relationship was symbiotic. The Tigers gave Simao a reprieve from his daily struggles and Clemson took to heart Simao's personal motto: Believe.{}

The family has not announced funeral plans.{}

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