EL CAJON, Calif. -- Hundreds of students, friends, family and even strangers lit candles at Grossmont High School Monday night to remember 18-year-old Ryan Wilcox, who died from his second battle with cancer in his short life.
Ryan Wilcox had been fighting for his life since he was a toddler. He had a brain tumor at age three and was later diagnosed with leukemia, a side-effect from chemotherapy he received as a three-year-old.
He died Saturday from the leukemia.
In May, Wilcox got the surprise of a lifetime: a visit from Chris Evans, who plays Captain America, Robert Downey Jr., who plays Ironman, and Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays Ironman’s girlfriend, Pepper.
“Everybody called him Captain Ryan,” said Josh Moala, Wilcox’s lifelong friend.
“No matter what state he was in, if he was sick, if he was 100 percent fine, if there was any cancer in him at all, he was always happy,” Moala said.
On his Facebook page, Wilcox’s family wrote, “fly high Superman... you are free.”
On Monday night, people came out with candles, signs and flowers to remember Ryan.
“We will forever be Ryan strong and Grossmont High School will always be the home of Ryan Wilcox,” Moala said.
At school Tuesday, his friends will wear red, white and blue to honor how big a fan Ryan was of Captain America.
Sept. 16 will be Ryan Wilcox Day at Grossmont High. The football team has dedicated its season to him.