Gate River Run athlete who collapsed near finish line remembered as ‘an angel and a legend’

“Our hearts are broken into a million pieces.”

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Andrew Baker, the University of North Florida graduate who collapsed near the finish line at the Gate River Run last month has died, his sister shared on social media Friday. He was 26.

Baker suffered multiple cardiac arrhythmias and had to be revived several times on the way to the hospital after competing in the 15K race.

His sister Gillian McLaughlin shared a heartfelt message Friday about her younger brother on Facebook.

“Patrick Andrew Livingston Baker danced his way into the pearly gates of Heaven this morning at 3:53am,” she wrote. “Our hearts are broken into a million pieces, but we know that God needed him and his incredible energy and light more. We are blessed to have gained a saint, an angel and a legend watching over us.”

An avid runner, Baker was planning and training for months to run in the Gate River Run.

“He was so hungry for this race, so excited that it was actually going to happen this year,” said McLaughlin in March. “So, naturally, none of us expected this outcome.”

Gate River Run organizer Doug Alred said Andrew Baker finished in the top 10% of runners in the race, which is a big accomplishment.

“We have pictures of him smiling, crossing the finish line probably 10 seconds before he had his heart attack,” Alred said. “He has the biggest smile on his face, so happy he’s finishing.”

His family from West Palm Beach made a plea for prayer and the response to a GoFundMe page set up to help them with medical costs stunned them — over $83,000 was raised.

It was not immediately clear if any funeral arrangements are planned.

“Thank you for the love, PRAYERS and support, Andrew and we are so beyond grateful and humbled by your generosity towards my family. In the coming days as we navigate our new reality please be patient with us,” McLaughlin wrote. “Don’t stop believing. Keep saying his name and live like Andrew did every single day with love, kindness and joy and being and giving your very all.”

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