Dan Soyka, a Dunedin man ailing from a debilitating and degenerative disease, passed away in his sleep over night, his friends announced on Facebook on Valentine's Day.
The community rallied to help Soyka, 35, and his family after he was diagnosed about two years ago with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, an incurable disease that degenerates nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
The disease impacts a person's voluntary muscle movement, until the person becomes essentially trapped in his or her own body.
Since Soyka's diagnosis, his .
His tight-knit group of friends mobilized as a local ALS awareness group called "Our Friend Dan" and organized two annual fundraisers at the Dunedin House of Beer, the most recent one held Jan. 19.
The group let friends know of his passing in a Facebook update:
With great sadness in our heart we would like the Our Friend Dan army to know that Dan Soyka passed away peacefully in his sleep last night. We will inform you all about Funeral arrangements as soon as possible. Thank you all for your support and love.
Dan's ailment is not the only tragedy for the Soyka family.
Several months after Dan was diagnosed, in October 2011, his younger sister in Charlotte, NC.
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