Baltimore Ravens and Orioles Superfan Mo Gaba, 14, Dies of Cancer as Teams Pay Tribute
Mo Gaba — who was blind — battled cancer multiple times and was a popular figure in Baltimore
The Baltimore sports world is mourning the loss of young superfan Mo Gaba, who died after battling cancer on Tuesday. He was 14.
Gaba was a popular figure among fans and players of the Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore Ravens, and both teams paid tribute to the teen with poignant videos featuring the many moments Gaba shared with them on the field.
“Thank you, Mo, for sharing your joy and contagious laughter with the team and all the countless memories we will never forget,” the Orioles wrote.
The clip featured highlights from Gaba’s time with the team, including when former outfielder Adam Jones surprised him with a personalized jersey, and when he threw out the first pitch, which he later called “the best day I ever had.”
“Every day when I wake up in the morning, I always feel like I’m going to achieve something that’s pretty cool, so I just think positive,” Gaba said. “And I just like to have fun!”
Just hours before his death, Gaba learned he’d been elected into the Orioles Hall of Fame as the second-ever recipient of the Wild Bill Hagy Award, which honors the team’s most dedicated fans.
“Mo GABA you have brought so much joy to so many people. You[r] legacy will live on as a positive young man who never made an excuse and wanted your team to play hard. You’re such an inspiration. Rest easy big fella. You will be missed!” Jones wrote on Twitter.
Added outfielder Trey Mancini: "Your kindness, bravery and positivity has left a lasting impact on all of us who were lucky enough to have met you. You have truly made this world a better place."
The Ravens also paid tribute to Gaba, who became the first person to ever announce an NFL draft pick in Braille in 2019, when he made the call that the Ravens had selected Oklahoma Sooners guard Ben Powers.
“Forever a Raven. We love you, Mo,” the team wrote.
Added Justin Tucker: “Miss you already, bud. Thank you for blessing us with your spirit!”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan wrote on Twitter that he was “absolutely heartbroken” by Gaba’s death.
“[Gaba was] a bright light who brought joy to all who knew him and hope to everyone who heard his story,” wrote Hogan, a cancer survivor. “Our prayers go out to his family and loved ones.”
Gaba first entered the Baltimore sports scene five years ago, when he secretly called into a local radio station while his mom was at work, according to ESPN.
An MLB blog called him a "household name" thanks to his regular radio call-ins, which he'd make in the afternoons after coming home from school.
He reportedly spent about 75 percent of his life in hospitals and lost his sight as a baby after he was diagnosed with a malignant tumor of the retina.
The outlet reported that Gaba underwent operations, aggressive chemotherapy, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant to help treat tumors, but that this spring, the cancer spread to his lungs and brain.
“I lost my best friend today,” his mom Sonsy Gaba wrote on Facebook, according to the Baltimore Sun. “[Your] legacy will live on love bug.”