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Former Penn State Running Back Mike Gasparato Dies After Battle with Cancer

by on June 28, 2019 5:16 PM

Former Penn State running back Mike Gasparato died on Thursday night after a year-long battle with cancer He was 37.

The news was first reported by Lions247 and confirmed on a GoFundMe page established by his friend Scott Lee Wade to help with Gasparato's medical expenses

Gasparato was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2018. He had a tumor removed when he first received a diagnosis, but after he returned to the hospital due to back pain, he learned that the cancer had returned and spread to his back, lungs and ribs.

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A Nittany Lion from 2000 to 2004, Gasparato was the backup running back behind Larry Johnson during his Penn State career. He had his best season in 2002, rushing for 158 yards and a touchdown in seven appearances.

After his Penn State career, Gasparato spent time as a graduate assistant at South Carolina, eventually becoming a high school teacher and coach at Chapin High in his home state.

The Gasparato family has long been a part of the Penn State community. Mike’s late father, Dominick Gasparato, was an offensive line coach for the Nittany Lions and won a national championship in 1986 under Joe Paterno.

Despite being given “maybe six weeks to live” without treatment, Gasparato bravely fought cancer for nearly a year after his diagnosis.

Gasparato is survived by his mother, Jean, who also is a Penn State graduate, and his brother, Greg.



Will Pegler is a Penn State student and a writer for Onward State.
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