Teen befriended by Kemp loses battle with brain cancer
Joshua Jones, the terminally ill Dodgers fan befriended by Matt Kemp earlier this season, has passed away. He was 19.
Laelah Quintor, Jones' aunt, told Yahoo! that Jones' health had worsened over the past few weeks, but she said the moments he spent with Kemp and his Dodgers teammates "definitely made a difference for Joshua." Jones had been battling brain cancer.
Kemp presented Jones with an autographed baseball along with his jersey, hat and spikes on May 5 after a game in San Francisco. The interaction was recorded and went viral online, although Kemp said at the time he didn't even know he was being filmed.
Third-base coach Tim Wallach first told Kemp about Jones, hoping it would be a way for Jones to at least take home a baseball, and Kemp decided to go meet Jones that day at AT&T Park.
Kemp later flew Jones from Oakland to a Dodgers game in Los Angeles, where Jones got to meet some of the All-Star outfielder's teammates, including Clayton Kershaw, who gave Jones a signed bat. Jones also met with Angels outfielder Mike Trout, shaking his hand and taking pictures on the field.
Kemp said his initial gesture was "something I felt that I needed to do, and I'm glad I got to do that. Hopefully, that made the kid's day."