Trucker Dukes, Maui boy who inspired thousands, dies of cancer

Published: Mar. 3, 2017 at 5:42 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 3, 2017 at 5:51 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
Trucker and his father Joshua, a Maui firefighter. (Image: Dukes Family)
Trucker and his father Joshua, a Maui firefighter. (Image: Dukes Family)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Trucker Dukes, the 3-year-old Maui boy who inspired thousands across the nation as he battled a form of childhood cancer, died Friday morning, his family said in a statement on Facebook.

"At 10:10 a.m. on March 3, 2017, in his mamma's arms, Trucker took his last breath here and went home to be with Jesus," the post read.

Shortly after he was born, Dukes was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, one of the most common forms of cancer found in children. By the time he was 19 months, his family says, the cancer had spread through roughly half of his body.

Though he underwent countless rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, the cancer persisted. A brain tumor was discovered in 2015, and though surgery to remove it was successful, the cancer never went away.

Last fall, Trucker's parents decided to bring him back to Maui and do their best to improve his quality of life, and residents across the state did their best to help.

An Instagram movement -- the #TruckerToughChallenge -- saw thousands of posts with people putting on their best "tough" faces, an act of solidarity that urged him to stay strong as he battled the disease.

On Friday, after news of the boy's passing, the social network was instead filled with messages of condolence for the Dukes family. On Facebook, the family said they hoped Trucker's legacy would continue to inspire.

"We are going to honor him and live our lives as better dads, moms, siblings, husbands, wives and people of God," read another portion of the family's statement. "We love you little warrior. Run free in heaven with no pain, no tears, no suffering!"

Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.