Former Boston University player and celebrated motivational speaker Travis Roy dies at 45

Travis Roy passed away Thursday at 45 (photo: Travis Roy Foundation via Twitter).

Travis Roy, who was paralyzed by an injury on his first shift playing for Boston University in 1995 and became a celebrated motivational speaker, died Thursday, his foundation announced. He was 45.

Roy cracked his fourth vertebra and damaged his spinal cord 11 seconds into a game Oct. 20, 1995. The injury left him confined to a wheelchair but he spent the next 25 years raising money for paralysis research.

“I want the next generation, my niece and nephews, not to have to see their friends go through this,” Roy told USCHO in 2015. “I want to be a part of putting an end to paralysis.”

Travis Roy drops the ceremonial first puck before the 2018 Battle of Comm Ave charity game (photo: BU Athletics).

Boston University said it was mourning Roy’s passing.

“His story is the epitome of inspiration and courage, and he was a role model and a hero to so many people,” a school statement said. “Travis’ work and dedication towards helping fellow spinal cord-injury survivors is nothing short of amazing. His legacy will last forever, not just within the Boston University community, but with the countless lives he has impacted across the country. Our sincere thoughts are with his wonderful family as well as his vast support group of friends and colleagues.”

This story will be updated.

Read more on Roy in USCHO’s archives:

Oct. 20, 2015: Travis, 20 years later: Brokenhearted about hockey, Roy battles frustrations but holds onto optimism

Dec. 3, 1997: Travis

Jan. 21, 1998: Travis Roy Autobiography Hits Shelves

Nov. 21, 2014: Roy earns prestigious Spirit of Courage Award from Christopher Reeve Foundation