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Former Zag Jeremy Eaton passes away after battle with cancer

Eaton was a key member of Gonzaga's 1999 Elite Eight team that began the program's success.

NAMPA, Idaho — Former Zag Jeremy Eaton died of cancer Thursday night at 10:15 p.m., while surrounded by friends and family. Eaton had stage four rectal cancer when he was diagnosed in December of 2020. He was 45 years old.

Eaton was a member of Gonzaga's 1999 Elite Eight team that began the program's historic run that continues to this day.

"All my doctors are like, 'People your age don't get this. This is not even like one in a million billion. This is… you don't get this,'" said the then 44-year-old Jeremy Eaton of his cancer diagnosis to KREM back in January of 2021.

Jeremy's doctors had hoped that chemo would prolong his life for about five years. He lived about a year and a half after his diagnosis.

"My doctors all laugh at me. They love my mentality towards it, so we’re going to give it hell. That’s all I can do. That’s all I know," said Eaton in January of 2021. "I approach it as the biggest game. I'm a competitor, and I'm gonna fight it. I’ve won more than I’ve lost, so we're going to do it again."

Eaton averaged 11.7 points and 4.3 rebounds on Gonzaga's 1998-1999 squad. He came to the school from Walla Walla Community College and only played two years at GU, but the love from his teammates was evident throughout his cancer diagnosis.

"Yesterday, six, seven of my old teammates from my ‘99 team all reached out and asked how the first treatment went and if there's anything we can do. We're a very, very close team. Those guys are like brothers, and then some," said Eaton.

Eaton also was very appreciative of the Gonzaga fan base at the beginning of his cancer journey. His GoFundMe page ended up raising over $61,000 for his cancer fight.

"The love is felt, and it's much appreciated. Just shows, I guess, how strong the Zag community really is. There’s people who I've never met that have helped us. Everything is… it's noticed," said Jeremy as he got emotional.

Gonzaga basketball team shared the following tweet mourning Jeremy's passing:

Eaton is survived by his son Sy, who said on Instagram: "To my best friend, I love you more than you can imagine. I've just wanted to make you proud and be like you. I love you dad. Fly high."