Brian McKenna, a paralyzed Saints superfan who rose to fame after meeting Drew Brees and Ellen DeGeneres, died May 6.
The announcement was made on DeGeneres' TV show Monday. She also dedicated the show to McKenna.
McKenna was paralyzed from the neck down in 2015, and his popularity grew after his friend, Jackson Smith, wrote a guest column for The Washington Post titled "How Drew Brees helped me and a friend get through war and heartache."
The two met at Tulane University in 2003. When they first appeared on "Ellen," Brees, via Skype, invited them to New Orleans to visit the Saints facility and check out a practice. Brees threw passes to Smith as well as Brees' son, who was riding with McKenna in his wheelchair. On a return trip to DeGeneres' show, the two were surprised on stage by none other than Brees.
"I've been so inspired by their journey and really their friendship, to be intertwined the way that we have just throughout this journey has really been incredible," Brees said.
Brian McKenna brought love and joy to the world while personally enduring the most difficult circumstances. I’ll never forget him. pic.twitter.com/kVGrIcJl4J— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) May 14, 2018
Click here to read more about McKenna and Smith's friendship and their relationships with Brees and DeGeneres.