Suzanne Wright, Co-Founder of Autism Speaks, Has Died at 69

Wright leaves behind a legacy of advocating for autism awareness with her husband Bob

Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Suzanne Wright, the cofounder of Autism Speaks, has died after a nine-month battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 69.

Wright died on Friday surrounded by family at her home in Fairfield, Connecticut, according to a statement released by an Autism Speaks spokesperson. She and her husband of 48 years, Bob Wright, started the foundation in 2005 after their grandson Christian was diagnosed with autism. Since then, she helped make the blue puzzle piece a representation of autism awareness and has worked to educate parents on the early signs of autism.

“Autism is unrelenting. It is every minute, every hour, every day,” she told PEOPLE in 2008.

“What Suzanne Wright has done to raise awareness of autism is immeasurable,” Autism Speaks Chairman of the Board of Directors Brian Kelly and President and CEO Angela Geiger said in a joint statement. “Even during the past few difficult months, her determination never wavered…”

Kelly and Geiger said starting this conversation is Wright’s “greatest legacy.”

“Suzanne sparked a global conversation with one question: How can we help people with autism live their best possible lives? Persuading the world to see the potential in each child and adult on the vast autism spectrum is her greatest legacy,” the said in the statement.

In 2008, Suzanne and Bob were named in Time 100’s “Heroes and Pioneers” category, among other awards and honors, for their commitment to global autism advocacy, according to the statement.

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