Even the warmest of stories can have the saddest of endings, and so it is with Joshua Jones, the fatally ill young fan befriended so memorably by Matt Kemp last May.
Jones is the 19-year-old Dodgers fan Kemp gave his cap, jersey and cleats to after making the final out in a Dodgers loss at AT&T Park. It was heartwarming, even touching Giants fans. Then, three weeks later, Kemp flew Jones and his family to Los Angeles for a game at Dodger Stadium, bringing them on the field to meet teammates.
But Jones’ battle with inoperable tumors on his spine has come to an end, with Yahoo Sports reporting he died Tuesday night.
The video of Kemp and Jones in San Francisco went viral and then quickly drew national media attention.
“I was in shock,” Jones told The Times’ Bill Plaschke the next day. “I was sitting there thinking, ‘I can’t believe he’s doing this.’”
Said Kemp to Plaschke in May: “I don’t think some athletes understand how big it is to be an athlete, what they can do with just a simple gesture of shaking a kid’s hand. It can make a fan’s day. It can make a fan’s life.”