ST. GEORGE — A St. George resident most known for using his platform to inspire others has died unexpectedly.
Jared Caplin, a 22-year-old local influencer with muscular dystrophy, used his YouTube channel to inspire people to follow their dreams no matter their limitations. The esports multiplayer video gaming athlete and social media influencer spent his teen years competing with and meeting new people from around the world.
Caplin was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, a genetic disease causing progressive weakness and muscle loss, at a very young age, slowing becoming confined to a wheelchair as the disease progressed.
The family announced his passing on Thursday, and since then, thousands of fans and internet friends across the globe reached out to offer their condolences and keep his memory alive, and his parents are hoping to do just that throughout the rest of the year.
“It’s been a bit overwhelming to see the impact he’s had on people’s lives,” Jared’s father, Alan, said. “All we can do is keep his spirit alive.”
Alan Caplin told St. George News that his son had a kind and compassionate heart. Whenever he saw someone struggling or in trouble, he always wanted to help. From driving to a hotel to help a fellow esports athlete get a room for the night to designing and shipping a state-of-the-art wheelchair to a friend in Bangladesh, the sky was anything but the limit.
Now Jared Caplin’s parents are working to ensure all of his charitable projects are completed and going a step further. His father said the family is looking into creating a nonprofit organization called “J Cap Is Awesome” to help people with disabilities realize their dreams.
The 22-year-old became a Muscular Dystrophy Association ambassador in 2016, participating in fundraisers and going to events to raise awareness about the disease.
He went to his first esports event with his dad in 2016. Following that, he secured sponsorships from several major companies involved in the gaming tournaments and also partnered with Scuf Gaming to develop a controller for people with muscle weakness conditions.
Alan Caplin said what people have most remembered is his son’s motivation, tenacity and strong, soothing voice – a sentiment echoed by some of Jared’s online followers.
“The Competitive CoD community lost a legend today,” one twitch streamer posted on Twitter after the announcement of Jared Caplin’s passing. “@jcapisawesome displayed the tenacity and heart that every individual can take note of. He may not have fought for map count, but he had his own battle.”
Dr. Disrespect, an online gaming competitor with over a million fans, and Adam Apicella, CEO and co-founder of Esports Engine and former vice president at Blizzard Entertainment, also shared news of Caplin’s death, calling the loss “devastating.”
The Desert Hills High School alum loved “Call of Duty,” a popular first-person shooter video game, and wanted to inspire others to overcome difficult situations. He was fearless in being himself, even performing Justin Beiber songs at school.
“Our biggest fear is the change that comes without having him here with us anymore,” his father said.
Additionally, viewings will be held Friday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9-10:30 p.m. at Spilsbury Funeral Home. A funeral service will also be held at the Desert Hills Chapel on Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon. A GoFundMe has been created for the medical bills and funeral costs the family is currently carrying.
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