Blake Fought, 19, died at 3 a.m. this morning in Montgomery Regional Hospital. He had been in the hospital since Feb. 8 and was supposed to be discharged this morning, said his father, Mark Fought.

Fought was a second-year student at Radford University who was the sports editor for The Tartan. During his freshman year, he wrote for the university's Internet magazine, Whim, and was outspoken about his views on a cartoon series called "Christ on Campus" that the magazine began publishing in 2005.

A devout Christian, Fought was a member of the RU chapter of Chi Alpha. In addition to writing for RU student media, Fought was a frequent contributor to RUnderground. His last column was published on Feb. 28 and discussed his illness.

An announcement about Fought's funeral will be made in the next few days. His father said the family would appreciate a huge turnout. "It would mean a lot to us," he said.

We asked Brian Erskine, a friend of Blake's, to write a little something about his friend, and he said he was honored to do so.


Below is Erskine's tribute:

Trying to find words to describe how you feel when someone has gone to be with Christ is a nearly impossible task. Emotions run through you faster than you seem to be able to resolve them.

The world lost an amazing young man today.

Blake Fought was the kind of person we will not replace. A devoted Christian and champion for God, Blake touched all of us. There were two words Blake did not understand: give up. His fight to bring glory to God by speaking out against blasphemy in his community was how the public knew Blake.

However, the rest of us saw something different.

Blake loved the Lord and moreover wanted those people close to him to feel the same. Some called him a zealot. But I call him convicted: convicted of the fact that there was no life without Christ.

His sincere approach to his every challenge inspired me in so many ways. Taking other people under his wing, Blake mentored them and brought them to Christ. We always knew and had said several times that we would never - even if we could - force people to believe in God, because only when people make that decision on their own can it be true.

An avid sports guru and talented writer, Blake laughed in the face of adversity and never once showed a hint of pessimism.

Even hours before he left us, Blake bragged about what he had for lunch and the fact that he was being discharged from the hospital. This was Blake, through and through.

Blake would say that what we lost is far less important than what we gained.

Blake wanted to make a difference. He knew that someday, although too soon, when he was gone, the way he touched other people would live on. In him, I gained a dear friend and role model. His family gained an amazing son and brother. Christ gained another soul in concert with Him in a place where sorrow and pain do not follow.