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Dan Soyka Dies In His Sleep, Friends Announce

Dan Soyka, a Dunedin man ailing from a debilitating and degenerative disease, passed away in his sleep over night, his friends announced on Facebook on Valentine's Day.

Dan Soyka, a Dunedin man ailing from a debilitating and degenerative disease, passed away in his sleep over night, his friends announced on Facebook on Valentine's Day.

The community rallied to help Soyka, 35, and his family after he was diagnosed about two years ago with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, an incurable disease that degenerates nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

The disease impacts a person's voluntary muscle movement, until the person becomes essentially trapped in his or her own body.

Since Soyka's diagnosis, his .

His tight-knit group of friends mobilized as a local ALS awareness group called "Our Friend Dan" and organized two annual fundraisers at the Dunedin House of Beer, the most recent one held Jan. 19.

The group let friends know of his passing in a Facebook update

With great sadness in our heart we would like the Our Friend Dan army to know that Dan Soyka passed away peacefully in his sleep last night. We will inform you all about Funeral arrangements as soon as possible. Thank you all for your support and love.

Dan's ailment is not the only tragedy for the Soyka family.

Several months after Dan was diagnosed, in October 2011, his younger sister  in Charlotte, NC.

Related Coverage:

  • House of Beer Party Helps Our Friend Dan
  • ALS Art Auction Continues Friends' Fight for Dan
  • Friends Remember Autumn Soyka
Matina February 14, 2013 at 09:23 PM
Much love to u and ur family dan I will always remember u and miss u. U where an amazing strong person who I am honored to have know. Prayers and love to ur family you all,need anything please let me know. Rip dan!!!!!!!
aimee February 14, 2013 at 11:34 PM
Dan showed such strength, courage and grace throughout his battle with ALS! He is an inspiration on how to deal with life's challenges and LIVE life to it's fullest. My heartfelt sympathy to all who knew and loved him. Aimee
BAW February 14, 2013 at 11:51 PM
I didn't know Dan but he was obviously very much loved. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.
sharon kircher February 15, 2013 at 12:55 AM
I'm so sorry for your loss. It is a horrible disease. My friend here in Palm Harbor had ALS too and it's just awful seeing her like this. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Please say prayers for my friend. She needs all the prayers she can get god bless you
David Conkle February 15, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Our thoughs and prayers also go out to the family and friends of this young man. My wife and I lost a very good friend that was a groomsman in our wedding to this horrible disease. His name was Evan and he passed ten years ago. Our hearts broke each time we visited him and witnessed the effects of ALS on his body. The worst part of it was, his mind was still so sharp and alive even till the end. He is still missed greatly by us as I'm sure Dan will be greatly missed by his family and friends. Our hearts go out to them at this time. Please support efforts to find a cure for this terrible and tragic degenerative disease that affects so many so cruelly.
Joe Kurtzke February 15, 2013 at 03:01 PM
I am so sorry to hear of Dan's passing. I did not know him personally but my wife did donate a painting to help with raising funds. I am sure that Lisa will have many expenses to deal with so any help the community can give her financially I am sure would be much appreciated. Critical Illnesses can strike at any time and many are unprepared for the financial consequences. While many scoff at getting critical illness coverage or think it will never happen to them, it is at times like this when it hits home. I do not think that Lisa or Dan had critical illness coverge so I encourage all to help Lisa out as much as possible. My condolences. Joe Kurtzke joe.kurtzke@gmail.com 727-444-0768
Sharonf February 16, 2013 at 05:35 AM
My family has been following Dan's journey. We lost our mom almost 1 year ago to ALS. Seeing another's strength through battle gives us hope there might soon be a cure. Wishing the family strength through this difficult time, courage to keep fighting, and prayers to get you through the struggle of it all.
Cup of Light February 16, 2013 at 03:43 PM
We are so sorry for your loss. It is our loss as well, we are sad, very sad. In these moments it is so hard to understand how the world keeps on going. Our community has lost a friend but it has gained an angel. Our prayers are with you.
Cup of Light February 16, 2013 at 03:43 PM
We are so sorry for your loss. It is our loss as well, we are sad, very sad. In these moments it is so hard to understand how the world keeps on going. Our community has lost a friend but it has gained an angel. Our prayers are with you.

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