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Rick Hoyt, whose late father pushed him through decades of Boston Marathons and other races, has died at 61

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Rick Hoyt, the man who was pushed in a wheelchair by his father in 32 Boston Marathon races, died Monday morning.

Hoyt, 61, died due to complications with his respiratory system, according to a family statement posted on The Hoyt Foundation’s Facebook.

“It is with profound sadness that the Hoyt Family announce the passing of our beloved brother and uncle, Rick Hoyt this morning,” the Hoyt family said in a statement Monday. “As so many knew, Rick along with our father, Dick, were icons in the road race and triathlon worlds for over 40 years and inspired millions of people with disabilities to believe in themselves, set goals and accomplish extraordinary things.”

Rick and his father, Dick, who passed away in March 2021, ran their first Boston Marathon in 1980 with a custom racing chair for Rick, according to the Boston Athletic Association.

The father and son began running in races in 1977 when Rick told his dad he wanted to participate in a 5-mile race to benefit a lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident, according to the Hoyt Foundation’s website.

Rick was a 36-time Boston Marathon finisher, according to the marathon race organizers.

“Rick Hoyt will always be remembered as a Boston Marathon icon and for personifying the ‘Yes You Can’ mentality that defined Team Hoyt,” the Boston Athletic Association said in a statement. “We are fortunate to have been able to call Rick a friend, mentor, pioneer, and Boston Marathon finisher.”

A “Yes You Can” race is planned for this Saturday in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, in honor of Dick, but the family says they will make a decision at a later date whether it will be postponed.

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