CHESAPEAKE, Ohio - Tanner Harr, one of the more-beloved high school athletes in the Tri-State, died at 5:58 a.m. Wednesday after a two-year battle with cancer.
The 2019 Chesapeake High School graduate and basketball player was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, in his knee. Harr struggled with the cancer, aggressive and most common in teenagers, as the community and even other schools rallied to support him. The cancer also was found in his lungs. Numerous fundraisers helped the Harr family with expenses until all treatment options were exhausted.
"Our sweet angel gained his wings this morning," said Karli Davis, Harr's close friend and a former Chesapeake volleyball and basketball standout now playing at West Virginia State University. "I never wanted to wake up to that call, but Tan fought for so long. I'm so grateful to have become a part of his family, and to be able to call him my best friend for the past seven years. I was given not only a life-long friend but enough memories with him to last a lifetime."
The hashtag #TannerStrong was prevalent in support of the Panthers' standout. Chesapeake basketball coach Ryan Davis wrote Harr's name and number in the team's scorebook for every game, even though the youngster couldn't play the last two seasons. The Panthers wore warmup shirts with Harr's last name and his number 23 on the back for every game.
Harr, 19, attended many games, usually on crutches and was a popular figure for Chesapeake and opposing fans who flocked to him with well-wishes and to let him know they were praying for him.
"Today, we are not rivals," Jeff Gorby, athletic director at Fairland High School said. "Today, we join together to become one community to support and lift up the family of Tanner Harr. Dragon Nation will continue to pray for Tanner's family and friends during this difficult time."
Support for Harr's family poured in throughout Wednesday as news of his death spread.
"Today we join together to become one community to support and lift up the family of Tanner Harr," the Ohio Valley Conference posted on its Twitter Page. "We will continue to pray for Tanner's family and friends during this difficult time."
Funeral arrangements were incomplete as of Wednesday night.
A GoFundMe page "Tanner Strong" has been set up to help Harr's parents, Mike and Angie, with funeral expenses.