Bryan Randall, a model turned photographer and the longtime romantic partner of the actor Sandra Bullock, recently died at 57 of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also called Lou Gehrig’s disease.
In a statement, Randall’s family said, “It is with great sadness that we share that on August 5, Bryan Randall passed away peacefully after a three-year battle with ALS. Bryan chose early to keep his journey with ALS private and those of us who cared for him did our best to honor his request.”
“We are immensely grateful to the tireless doctors who navigated the landscape of this illness with us and to the astounding nurses who became our roommates, often sacrificing their own families to be with ours,” his family said.
“At this time we ask for privacy to grieve and to come to terms with the impossibility of saying goodbye to Bryan,” the statement concluded, and was signed, “His Loving Family.”
Media Director for Lancaster Health News, Lauren Gerson recalls when her dear friend Bernard Fitzpatrick lost his battle with ALS. “He was so strong”, recalled Gerson, “a hard-working physically fit landscaper, who always had a kind word for everyone he met. We went to school together for a brief time and his heart was just so big”.
What Is ALS?
ALS is a progressive degenerative condition (meaning it gets worse over time) that causes irreversible damage to the brain and spinal cord. A person with ALS gradually loses the ability to walk, use their hands or arms, speak, chew, and swallow.
Early ALS symptoms may be overlooked and can include muscle twitching, cramping, stiffness, or weakness. Over time, as the nerves in the brain and spinal cord atrophy, people with the condition may experience difficulty swallowing and slurred speech and may develop visibly thinner muscles. They may also laugh, cry, or yawn involuntarily.
About 5,000 people are diagnosed with the condition each year in the United States, mostly between the ages of 40 and 70. Men are more likely to get the condition than women. While the disease can be caused by immune system dysfunction or genetics, most cases seem to occur randomly.
There is currently no cure for ALS, and more than half of people diagnosed will live for no more than three additional years. A number of ALS medications can make daily activities easier, slow the progression of symptoms, and help prevent complications.