Former Butler basketball player Andrew Smith passed away on Tuesday after a long fight with cancer. He was only 25 years old.
His wife, Samantha, tweeted this heartbreaking goodbye this morning, confirming the death of her beloved husband:
The nearly 7-foot tall Smith was a key player on Brad Steven’s team that went on to win the national title.
Stevens actually skipped his game in Chicago last Thursday to visit Smith in the hospital. On Thursday, he tweeted this heartfelt message.
But there’s so much more to his story than being a great basketball player.
As beautifully stated by his father Curt: “Andrew packed more living into his 25 years than most of us will enjoy in a full 75 years. He lived his faith, relished his family, selflessly served his wife, and pursued his passion of basketball at the highest levels.”
Smith was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in early 2014, but he seemed to be getting better and even decided to go back to work at a local leasing company in July of 2014. However, just a few days later, he had a cardiac arrest that put him in a coma for 3 days.
And only more bad news followed.
After Smith had a bone marrow transplant in November, his wife Samantha stated that it had failed and his lymphoma had in fact turned into leukemia.
But Smith wouldn’t go down without a fight. As stated by his dad, “We have seen many miracles in Andrew’s life, including surviving 22 minutes without a heart beat with no side effects and is initial response to the chemo when first diagnosed with this pernicious disease called acute lymphoblastic lymphoma. But we have to count that run to the Houston Final Four among the most amazing miracles in Andrew’s short but full life.”
His wife Samantha has detailed his heartwrenching story in her blog Kicking Cancer With the Smiths, and it offers a raw, eye-opening perspective on the trials that our faith goes through when we are faced with such unthinkable pain.
Just a few days ago on January 10, she wrote, “I ask that we all pray that God would remove all of the bad and replace it only with good, that He would touch his blood and remove the impurities and terror of this disease. My prayers haven’t changed, but I can admit that my faith has wavered at times. I don’t understand this. I know God is able. I know all God has to do is simply THINK healing over Andrew’s body and it would be done. So my constant prayer is that God will do so and until He intervenes, we will continue to intercede.”
With raw honesty, she admitted, “He is afraid of death and I am afraid of life.”
But despite the fact that God’s plans were different than her pleas for healing, Samantha seems to exude a level of peace about the man that Andrew was while on this earth:
“Truly, Andrew exudes and shines the Light of Christ,” she wrote. “Andrew is the perfect example of what God has called us to do here on earth; to love one another at every opportunity, to glorify Him in all that we say and do, and to preach the Gospel to the masses. But Andrew doesn’t even need words to do that preaching.”
She continued that her husband’s daily walk was intended to glorify God:
“The way Andrew lives every single day preaches the Word of God. One quote that Andrew and I have prayed over and try to instill in our lives together is ‘Be careful how you live; you will be the only Bible some people ever read.’ Andrew and I strive to make our lives preach loudly instead of our lips and he has done that ever so beautifully. I’m so proud of him and there aren’t words to describe the honor I take in being his wife.”
What a beautiful way to be remembered. Many prayers for Samantha and the Smiths as they walk through this hard time, and may they receive peace in knowing their Andrew is walking with Jesus.