A Michigan woman who was recently profiled by PEOPLE while fighting terminal cancer alongside her husband has died.
Shelby Offrink, 31, died on Sunday, June 28. The 31-year-old mother of two touched many hearts with her bravery and determination to life a full life with her young daughters and husband, Ben Offrink, who is battling Hodgkins lymphoma.
Ben, 35, who is now faced with raising Maeve, 4, and Hazel, 18 months, on his own in Caledonia, Michigan, issued a statement to PEOPLE on Tuesday while undergoing chemotherapy to treat his cancer, which recently returned after 20 years in remission.
“Shelby has ended her battle with Stage 4 glioblastoma (a rare form of spine and brain cancer),” he said. “She was at peace and pain-free. We couldn’t be more thankful for everyone’s outpouring of love and support during this difficult time, but it is a testament to Shelby’s life and the person she was. Her girls will know what an amazing mom she was. Her legacy will forever live on.”
Before taking her last breath, Shelby received kisses and hugs from her daughters, said Ben, who is now making funeral arrangements for his wife, who learned she had cancer in February 2014, six months before her husband’s diagnosis.
Although barely able to speak in the last months of her life, “her eyes still sparkle,” Ben told PEOPLE on June 12. “We’re not going to sulk in a corner. We want to show our girls that there’s a lot to live for and laugh about, each and every day of their lives.”
Inspired by the couple’s positivity, thousands of friends and strangers rallied to help raise funds for Shelby and Ben’s medical care through an online fundraiser that has brought in almost $200,000.
Married in 2007 after meeting in college, Ben says that his daughters are what kept Shelby fighting with a smile until the end. “There have been tears and sadness,” he said. “But we want people to know that we’re more than the cancer.”