The TSN family is saddened to share the loss of our dear friend Jonathan Pitre.
Jonathan, 17, passed away after a life-long battle with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a rare genetic skin condition.
He spent his entire life in intense pain from EB, yet still managed to carry a positive attitude that will never be forgotten by those his story touched.
We would like to share our condolences with his mother, Tina Boileau, and his family and friends.
Born outside of Ottawa in Russell, Ont., Pitre was an avid hockey fan who always dreamed of playing the game.
Though health limitations kept him off the ice, Pitre’s dreams of becoming a sportscaster came true in December of 2014, when he joined his friend James Duthie on the TSN Hockey Panel. James, who profiled Jonathan’s story with the TSN Original The Butterfly Child in 2015, remained close with Pitre until the time of his passing.
One month before making his television debut, Pitre signed a one-day contract to join the pro scouting department of his favourite team, the Ottawa Senators. His relationship with the Senators continued to grow from there. Last year, while he was undergoing a stem cell clinical trial at the University of Minnesota, the entire team made a surprise visit to see him.
"It's amazing. It’s something we can all learn from, that’s for sure. That positivity and thoughtfulness he has is incredible," Senators forward Zack Smith said at the time.
"Jonny’s story has been made very public over the last few years as he invited you into his life and his daily struggles with EB as he tirelessly fought to raise awareness for this horrific disease. I am proud to say you did it Jonny boy!" Boileau posted on Facebook Friday.
"Thank you for your outpouring of love and support for Jonathan and myself in these sad times. My family and I are now requesting your understanding in respecting our privacy as we reunite as a family to support each other in the challenging days ahead as we grieve the loss of our son, brother, grandson and above all a fearless warrior.
"Thank you for your understanding and continued support."
Jonathan was a proud ambassador for DEBRA Canada, a non-profit organization and charity dedicated to providing support for families affected by Epidermolysis Bullosa, and heightening Canadians’ awareness of the condition.
To learn more or to donate to families affected by EB, go to debracanada.org.