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In Memoriam, Simon Shuttlewood

A little over a year ago, I received e-mail from Simon Shuttlewood, a resident of the UK who had become a big baseball -- and Cubs -- fan, through first following American football through satellite TV in the UK, becoming a Chicago Bears fan, and then through watching baseball, transferring his Chicago sports loyalties to the Cubs.

Simon had Motor Neurone Disease, what we in the USA know as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or more commonly, Lou Gehrig's Disease.

I corresponded with Simon after the NLCS loss last year and through the off-season and found him to be witty, articulate and knowledgeable about baseball and the Cubs, even from afar, and even though he had to deal with a disease that progessively robs you of your ability to use your muscles and your body, even while your mind remains sharp.

This morning, I received e-mail from the Rev. Martin Court, an Anglican priest who was a good friend of Simon's, to tell me that Simon had passed away yesterday, aged 45. I post the Rev. Court's e-mail here in its entirety:

A few weeks ago Simon Shuttlewood gave me a list of contacts who he wanted to contacted once his battle with Motor Neurone Disease ended. I'm writing to inform you that Simon died last night at home with his wife and family around him.

He truly valued your friendship over this recent time and wanted to communicate that to you.

I have known Simon and his family for the past six and a half years, first as his parish priest and then as a friend and I have only admiration for the way he and his family have faced up to and dealt with the increasing problems this debilitating disease has brought them. However, the last couple of years in particular have been blessed by Sky Sport TV and Simon's love for baseball. The sporting year seemed to give him new goals to aim for, so this year has been rich for him with the Olympics, the Ryder Cup, the World Series and a great deal more.

I thank you for contributing to the quality of life he maintained until very
recently and hope you will feel able to hold Jane his wife, and Emma, George, Sam and Jack, their children in your thoughts and prayers in the days ahead.

Simon, I know you're smiling on all of us now, and I send through this forum, my condolences and my thoughts to your family.