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Beloved Michigan fan Dametrius Walker dies at age 18 after battling cancer

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Former high school football star and Michigan Wolverines fan Dametrius “Meechie” Walker died Friday after a two-year battle with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. Michigan announced.

Walker played high school football at Muskegon High School in Muskegon, Michigan playing defensive end. He received scholarship offers from Kentucky and Michigan State, among others.

However, his dream was to play for the University of Michigan.

“The team, the coaching staff, just the way they did things,” Walker told ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski in October. “The way they carry themselves, I just love that about them.”

In November 2020, Walker was diagnosed with osteosarcoma after noticing a bump on his knee.

He underwent surgery and nine months of chemotherapy, but the cancer returned in 2021. In April 2021, the tumor had grown too large and doctors amputated his left leg. Despite removing the tumor and his leg, the cancer continued to spread.

After news reached the Michigan football team that Walker was fighting for his life, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh invited Walker to practice on August 13, 2022 to meet the team and be part of the Michigan program.

“Meechie was so sore that day,” Bell told Wojciechowski. “His whole body was in excruciating pain and he was smiling as if nothing had ever happened. Like he wasn’t even in pain.”

Walker had lost 70 pounds but fought every day and told Wojciechowski he knew he had to be strong for his son.

“I’m doing my best to show him that Dad is in pain,” Walker said. “But Daddy will always love you and I’ll always be here until the day I die.”

Walker attended Michigan’s game against Maryland on September 24, wearing a jersey with Meechie on the back.

A flood of memories and heartfelt messages were shared on social media by Michigan teammates, coaches and players.

“We have lost a true embodiment of what it means to be a Michigan man. Meechie and I texted weekly about his experience and outlook on life,” Punter Brad Robbins wrote. “Whenever he was in our facility and on our team, he was so positive and always had a big smile on his face.”

Walker is survived by his mother, Leona Bell, and son, Kymere.