Vigil held for local "superhero teen" Ryan Wilcox - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Vigil held for local "superhero teen" Ryan Wilcox

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EL CAJON (CBS8/ CNS) - Students at Grossmont High School in El Cajon held a candlelight vigil Monday night for senior Ryan Wilcox, the terminally ill teen who died Saturday of complications from leukemia.

Wilcox made national headlines in May when he was visited by three cast members of the "Avengers" movies. Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Evans visited Ryan at his El Cajon home after reading about him on social media.

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

"Ryan Wilcox was and is a true inspiration to all. His unending strength, courage, and sincere love will forever touch the hearts of those who know him and his story," a message posted on Twitter Sunday by the Grossmont High School Associated Student Body said.

"In honor of Ryan, there will be a candlelight vigil September 5th at 7 p.m. at Grossmont High School. We are forever #ryanstrong ."

His death was announced Saturday on Facebook on the "Team Ryan, Stay Strong and FIGHT On" page.

"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," the post said.

"He did not lose this battle... he beat it a long time ago by the way he chose to LIVE," the message, said.

Since then, an outpouring of support has flooded the #ryanstrong hashtag on Twitter, including condolences from actor Robert Downey Jr. and other high schools in the Grossmont Union High School District.

"On behalf of the Wilcox family, thank you all for the overwhelming love and support you have all shown. They are feeling all the love and prayers you are sending with all your comments and messages. Please know they are reading each and every one and they are truly touched by your kind words and love for Ryan," said an updated post on the Facebook page late Sunday night.

"The Wilcox family is planning a Celebration of Life for Ryan at a later date, probably in the next couple of weeks. Details will be posted once arrangements have been made."

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.

The school will call next Friday. September 16, Ryan Wicox Day in his honor - carrying out Ryan's motto: "Strength does not come from your muscles, it comes from your heart, spirit and love." 



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