Vigil held for inspirational teen, Ryan Wilcox

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 EL CAJON, Calif. – A candlelight vigil was held Monday to honor a Grossmont High School student who died Saturday of complications from leukemia.

Ryan Wilcox, 18, made national headlines in May when he was visited by three cast members of the “Avengers” movies.

“With the heaviest of hearts... Early this morning Ryan passed away peacefully at home, with his family by his side surrounded in so much love right where he wanted to be,” according to the “Team Ryan, Stay Strong and FIGHT On” Facebook page. “He did not lose this battle... he beat it a long time ago by the way he chose to LIVE.”

Captain America inspired Wilcox during his long battle with cancer, and Ryan's dream was to meet Chris Evans, the actor who plays his hero.

In early May, Wilcox's classmates at Grossmont High School made a plea to the cast of "Captain America: Civil War" on social media. In the Facebook post, students said meeting the movie cast, especially Evans, would be a dream come true for their classmate.

“He isn’t doing too well and this would be a major way to boost his spirits and, quite frankly, be the best moment of his life, if he literally got to meet his hero,” students said.

On May 6, students decked out in America gear were able to surprise Ryan with a special video message from Captain America.

“I heard you are a big Captain America fan. Good taste!” actor Chris Evans said. “Glad to know you are on team Cap. Just wanted to say stay strong. I know you are fighting the good fight.”

Evans, along with his costars Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow even visited Ryan at his home.

The actors, who portray Iron Man, Pepper Potts and Captain America, respectively, paid a surprise visit and spent the afternoon visiting, taking pictures and giving autographs.

Pictures of Wilcox, Evans, Downey and Paltrow were shared on social media.

Monday’s vigil is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Grossmont High School. The Wilcox family is planning a celebration of life for Ryan at a later date.

Students at many of the schools in the Grossmont District pledged to wear red, white and blue when they return to their campuses Tuesday in honor of Wilcox having been a big fan of Captain America.


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