Andrel Gaines, a freshman basketball player at Gavilan College whose fight for life following a Nov. 6 car accident spurred thousands of prayers and ardent messages of support, died this morning at a San Francisco hospital, the Dispatch has learned.
Gaines, 19, had been on life support at San Francisco General Hospital since the early morning wreck, which happened on Highway 101 south of San Francisco.
Gavilan College Athletic Director Ron Hannon confirmed the news after speaking with head men’s basketball coach Tito Addison this afternoon.
“This is just a sad day for this community, for Gilroy and the college. It’s a sad day to lose somebody at a young age who impacted so many people,” Hannon said. “The response that we’ve seen at the hospital, on social media, on campus – it’s just been unbelievable.”
Hannon continued, “That only happens when somebody has an unbelievable impact on everyone. He wasn’t just a basketball player, he was a student-athlete who was appreciated by all of our student-athletes, and he, in turn, appreciated everyone else. So obviously it’s a sad day for Rams athletics as well.”
College spokeswoman Jan Bernstein Chargin also confirmed in an email that Gaines had died.
Over the last 10 days, Gaines’ friends and family flooded social media outlets Twitter and Facebook, inciting thousands of responses through the “PrayForAndrel” movement and a prayer chain that has grown to almost 8,000 members.
An online donation site has raised more than $4,000 for Gaines’ family to help cover expenses.
Gaines, who suffered severe brain trauma, had been in a medically induced coma since the accident. Hundreds had visited him at his hospital room.
Information regarding arrangements for a memorial service is not yet available, though Gavilan expects to release that information once it is.
“This is a difficult time for many on campus, particularly the athletics department,” Bernstein Chargin wrote.
Billy Heard and Davontea Johnson, Gaines’ teammates, also were injured in the wreck. Heard remains at the hospital, while Johnson is back in Gilroy recovering from a broken leg.
The team’s Saturday game against Canada College has been postponed until Dec. 6. The Rams opened their season this past Wednesday night at home against Merced College.
“Right now, we will keep the rest of the schedule in tact. And then we will find out when the service is, and we anticipate being involved in that, if that’s what the family chooses to do,” Hannon said. “So we’ll deal with the other games on our schedule as other things develop.”
Sports Editor Josh Weaver contributed to this report.