LSU Superfan, Sid Ortis, has died today after a heroic battle with cancer for more than a year.
Sid Ortis’ mother sent this message.
Surrounded by family, 16-year-old Sid passed away early this morning. “To day around 7:24 a.m., Sid won his race and is in Heaven celebrating,” his mom, Lynn Ortis, posted on Facebook. “We are so proud of our son for not getting bitter, living life, trusting Jesus until the end. Please pray for us as we learn to live without him.”
Sid, just named the Sophomore Class Favorite at Mountain Brook High School on Friday, has made national news over the past year because of his courage, faith and newfound friendship with LSU Coach Les Miles.
In August 2014, Sid was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, or bone cancer. He went to a summer basketball camp and returned complaining of tightness in his knee. Since it was a week before Sid’s freshman year at Mountain Brook High School, his parents decided to take him to the doctor to get it checked out. In less than 24 hours, on Aug. 6, they had a diagnosis – bone cancer. Only about 400 children ages 20 and under hear those words each year.
Friends filled their home that night, and they prayed. Those prayers have continued en masse, worldwide, for the past 14 months. Two weeks ago, with nothing medically left to stop Sid’s aggressive cancer, he made the decision to go home. “I’ve been told officially I only have a few weeks to live. I just want to thank everybody for the support I’ve gotten through this fight,” Sid posted on Twitter Oct. 19. “It’s been a hard and painful fight. It’s never over though until God says it’s over.”
“I was really scared about coming home, but it’s been the best thing we ever did,” Lynn Ortis said in a previous interview. “It’s been beautiful. There’s been so much peace here.”
The Mountain Brook community embraced Sid and the Ortis family, which includes four other children, two of whom are adopted twin girls from Russia. Purple and gold has blanketed the community in honor of Sid’s beloved LSU Tigers. There have been bows, and pins, and lots of prayer. Recently, several hundred gathered at a Crestline ball field to pray for their friend. Also, 200 people held hands and surrounded the Ortis home to pray. Sid and his mom watched in awe through the window.
On Sid’s 16th birthday, there was a star-studded video tribute to him. Duck Dynasty star Sadie Robertson called him this week to talk. And then, of course, there is the friendship with Miles.
Miles first called 16-year-old Sid Ortis and prayed with him in March, telling him, “Life is not how long you live, but how well you live it.” He then invited him to be his box-seat guest in Death Valley in September. He phoned Sid again when he came home on hospice, and said, “When you get to Heaven, save a spot for me.” Miles called Sid again mid-week this week, but Sid was too tired to take the call.
Sid’s friends have surrounded him during his illness, and in recent weeks. Sid prayed with them and for them, and this was his prayer: “Dear Lord, thank you for everything you’ve given me and these wonderful friends who have been there with me through the fight. And let them all live prosperous lives once I’m gone, and let everybody stay on the path of righteousness and not get away from You. Amen.”
His father, Scott Ortis, said in a previous interview that Sid didn’t seem to grasp the enormity of the impact he’s had on people. What little he does grasp, he doesn’t get. “He said he is just one of a bunch of kids with cancer,” his father said. “But he’s been prayed for all over the word.”
“This whole thing is bad and horrible, except we’ve been blessed to get to witness what we’ve seen,” Scott Ortis said. “Dozens and dozens have come back to a spiritual belief because of Sid. Not everybody gets to see that, and it’s a pretty special thing.”
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.