Bryan Bresee, a defensive tackle at Clemson University, announced on Thursday that his 15-year-old sister died from an aggressive form of brain cancer.
In a post on Instagram, Bresee penned a heartfelt goodbye message to his sister, Ella, which included a series of pictures of them together.
"My beautiful sister Ella you amazed me every single day with the fight that you put up and how joyful you were constantly through this battle," the football star wrote. "Never did I think I would be sitting here today saying bye to you. I want to thank you for bringing happiness to not only me but so many people."
"You are the best sister a brother could ask for and I know for a fact heaven has gained a beautiful angel today, Love you forever and always Ella bear," he added.
Per the Washington Post, Ella visited Clemson last week, and the team had planned to honor her during a game on Saturday. But she had to return home before the game after experiencing a setback in her health.
The Clemson Football Twitter account shared pictures of the team wearing the shirts in honor of Ella
When asked whether Bresee would be available for the team's game this weekend, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said, "I don't know and really don't care."
"As I said yesterday, there are bigger things than football," Swinney said, per the Clemson Insider. "[Bresee] needs to focus on what he's doing, and when he's ready to be back and ready to play, we'll be here. But right now, he's right where he needs to be."
According to the outlet, Bresee — a third-year sophomore — was nominated for the Orange Bowl Courage Award this week.
"Super special," Bresee said of the nomination after last weekend's game. "I wish obviously my little sister could have been there. It's a tough situation. Life throws you curveballs sometimes, but you've just got to keep pushing."
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In a statement posted to social media, Swinney said the team's "prayers continue to be with the entire Bresee family."
"We are all so appreciative of all of the love and support that has been shown by the Clemson Family and so many others during this time," he wrote. "Ella was such a sweet spirit, and her spirit will continue to live on throughout the Bresee family and everyone who had the opportunity to know her. I am stronger today for having experienced Ella's strength and courage."