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Heroic Boston Marathon Icon Rick Hoyt Dies at 61

Photo: Jim Rogash

Boston Marathon icon Rick Hoyt, who was famously pushed in his wheelchair by his late father, Dick, for decades, has died at the age of 61.

"It is with profound sadness that the Hoyt Family announces the passing of our beloved brother and uncle, Rick Hoyt this morning. Rick was 61-years-old. Rick passed away due to complications with his respiratory system," the family said in a statement obtained by WBZ on Monday (May 22). "As so many knew, Rick along with our father, Dick, were icons in the road race and triathlon worlds for over 40 years and inspired millions of people with disabilities to believe in themselves, set goals and accomplish extraordinary things.

"Rick was also a pioneer in education. His mother Judy Hoyt changed the laws allowing her son to be educated alongside his non-disabled peers. His family is heartbroken and requests time to grieve and will share details as they become available."

Hoyt was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, which left him quadriplegic. In 1977, Rick told his father that he wanted to participate in a charity run honoring a lacrosse player who was paralyzed in an accident, after which he told his rather, "When I'm running I don't feel handicapped."

Team Hoyt went on to compete in more than 1,000 races together, which included 32 Boston Marathons, until Dick's retirement in 2014. Rick was later pushed by late Billerica dentist Bryan Lyons from 2015 to 2019.

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