BRONX, NY– Oklahomans, New Yorkers, and athletes alike are mourning the death of a gentle giant Thursday.
Yonkers, NY native Mike Nolan died at the young age of 23.
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He was shot in a drive-by on Sept. 18, suffering injuries to the head and torso.
Nolan was put on life support in the early hours of Sept. 19, and the fight began.
Every day, loved ones would visit “Big Mike,” as he was affectionately called for his 6’7″ height, and then write on his Facebook wall so he would be able to look back on the love he received once he woke up.
“Good morning sweetheart I heard you are doing better when I saw you Saturday you did look so handsome and I kissed your hands I can’t wait for you to know I’m there I just want to hug you and get a big hug and kiss back I love you so much and keep praying for you to come back to us and make us all laugh again papa is at the hospital with you now and I know he is singing those dirty songs he sang to you when you where little hoping for you to wake up and his singing can do that I love you keep fighting and stay strong,” Glenda Maher wrote on Oct. 5.
“Good morning bro it’s been 12 days since I last heard your voice and talked to you but I know every day you are fighting and getting closer to waking up and I honestly can’t wait for that day again. I go in your room every day talking to you because I know you can hear me, you’re kicking ass right now bro by getting better and better please keep fighting I love you Mike and miss you. I never told anyone this but when we were kids and we were sleeping I would mute the tv from time to time and go over to check if you were breathing and ok. I felt and still do feel as your big brother that I have to make sure you are ok and protect you. #pray4mike,” Mike’s brother, James Nolan, wrote on Sept. 29.
“He did what so many people thought he wouldn’t . That’s why you pulling thru you a fighter and never give up, to buying a Mercedes and grinding working hard I Love you brother missing you like crazy haven’t been the same not hearing your voice but being with your family and spending time with the brothers feel like you there with us all we do is watch videos and pictures and talk about the good times and memories we’ll always have . Can’t wait till you walk out that hospital man it’s been the longest 1 week of my life watching you fight but the battle is looking better and better everyday .. See you soon brotha 1 luv,” Tim Ekhatch wrote on Sept. 27 under a picture of Mike on the pitching mound at Oklahoma City University.
But the fight was too much.
Michael Joseph Nolan was declared brain dead after going into surgery Oct. 7.
“You are my heart & soul and you have fought hard but I know your tired so go rest my angel it’s ok,” Mike’s mom, Donna Nolan, posted.
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“This is just heartbreaking. Just totally heartbreaking,” his mother, Donna Nolan said. “For no reason whatsoever this happened to my son and it’s just heartbreaking.”
Mike’s family said the community’s support has meant so much to them.
“I think that’s what’s gotten us through a lot of the last three weeks,” Donna said.
Mike’s father, Jimmy, said they plan to donate his son’s organs.
“It’s the right thing to do: Give people life. My son don’t have life. Whoever gets his heart, they’re going to run for … That kid used to run six, seven, eight miles a day,” he said.
Running, pitching, lifting… Mike Nolan worked his hardest to chase his dream of being drafted into the MLB.
And it worked.
In 2009, Nolan led his high school baseball team to a program-record 15 mins.
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After graduating high school, Mike bounced around small colleges in Texas and Oklahoma, and the Oakland Athletics drafted Mike out of Oklahoma City University in 2014 in the 18th round.
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The A’s sent flowers to the Nolans’ home with a note that said “he’ll always be part of the Oakland A’s family,” Donna Nolan said.
The Oakland A’s today made the following statement regarding the passing of former draft pick Michael Nolan. pic.twitter.com/8zgjsQdXOJ
— Oakland A's (@Athletics) October 8, 2015
Condolences continue to pour in to Mike’s Facebook.
Rest in peace, Big Mike.