Terminally ill Ravens fan dies moments after team’s wild-card win over Steelers
Fans are known to go to great lengths to show their never-ending support for their favorite teams, but few have demonstrated it in such a touching — and ultimately heartbreaking — way than dedicated, lifelong Baltimore Ravens fan Ronnie Akers did last weekend.
Akers, 65, passed away Saturday after a battle with liver and esophageal cancer, but according to his family, held on just long enough to watch his beloved Ravens beat the Pittsburgh Steelers one last time.
“Who does that?” family friend Stephanie Ramirez told The Baltimore Sun. “People hold on for a long-lost relative. Who holds on for a football team?”
Akers’ condition rapidly deteriorated of late after being diagnosed last year and was put in hospice care shortly after Christmas. His wife told him hit was okay to let go, but even though he couldn’t eat, drink, talk or see, he held on.
“We couldn’t figure out what he was holding on for,” Ramirez says. “Then, someone joked that maybe he was waiting on that last Ravens-Steelers game.”
The Ravens and Steelers of course played Saturday evening in a Wild Card Weekend showdown at Heinz Field. Shortly before game time, Akers’ Ravens hoodie was placed on top of him and his team hat was set by his side.
Akers couldn’t actually watch the game, but he could hear it, and his wife and nephew were on hand to further describe the action on the field.
“When the game was over, they told him what the final score was,” Ramirez says, referring to Baltimore’s thrilling 30-17 victory. Akers passed away within minutes.
Says nephew Mark Stapleton: “He wanted to see the Steelers getting their butts kicked one last time.”
And that he did.
(photo courtesy of Baltimore Sun/Akers family)