Frontier Developments takes steps to brighten the final days of a terminally ill Elite Dangerous fan

    
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If you’re in any way connected to the greater Elite: Dangerous community, you perhaps are familiar with the name of Michael aka CMDR Michael Holyland, a 15-year-old who had gone through six years of debilitating illness that medical treatments had failed to help. On June 7th, Michael was laid to rest after finally succumbing to his illness; however, his final week was one of support and love from Frontier Developments and the Elite: Dangerous community, as explained in an open letter from one of his relatives.

It all started with a tweet sent by the family member, blogger Mathew James Westhorpe, who shared pictures of Michael enjoying Elite: Dangerous despite his illness swelling his face to the point of impeding his vision. Community Manager Page Harvey reached out to Mathew and visited Michael at his hospital room with some Elite swag including a signed poster from the dev team and several in-game goodies.

That would have been altruistic enough, but Michael received even more support. From authors to David Braben to members of the Elite community, Michael was given messages of support and well-wishes, and numerous times he was invited to in-game group actions. Bolstered by this support network, Michael began streaming his Elite activities, which became an attraction for many players and devs of the game. He was even gifted Elite: Dangerous audiobooks in lieu of a visit to Frontier’s offices, which was made impossible due to breathing issues caused by his illness.

Then, Frontier’s Zac Antonaci launched a bold plan: to have an audiobook story set in the Elite: Dangerous world made just for him, with his character as the central hero. The personalized audiobook, written by author Drew Wagar and fully voice acted and mixed, was completed in an astonishing three days and played to Michael. The following day, Michael died.

“His end was unjust and tragic, but because of the heroic kindness of a videogame community, his last week of life was filled with an unexpected amount of happiness. For that, I am immensely grateful and I want to offer my eternal gratitude to everyone who contributed to that, from the players who stood ready to meet Michael online and those who took the time to send him an ‘o7’, to the Frontier staff and associates who gave so much of their time, compassion and creative energy.”

It was one of Michael’s wishes to have his personal audiobook shared with the Elite: Dangerous community, and Westhorpe mentions in his blog that he is working with Zac and his contacts on a way to best make that happen. For now, we want to extend our condolences to Michael’s family, and thank Westhorpe for penning the blog that shared his nephew’s story with the gaming world.

source: Westhorpe.net, thanks to BalsBigBrother for the tip!
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John Philip Mitchell Chappell

O7 Michael.

xpsync
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xpsync

The world has become a lonelier place without that smile.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

Hats off to the Devs for going the extra mile to make this kid happy, I come across cancer patients every day I work and it is a horrible debilitating disease that just slowly eats people alive; really leaves a mark on you as a healthcare professional and it’s got to be heartbreaking to see a kid suffer through it let alone watch them die.

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Dave Combs

Fly Safe

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The Word-Mule

Ashes to ashes, stardust to stardust.

Alyn
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Alyn

May the memory of his time here on Earth be forever remembered. May peace rest his soul. May we all remember our brief time here and strive to be better each day we have!

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styopa

Fantastic, I hope this game gave him a feeling of exploring the universe.

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Armsman

It’s a nice thing FDev did for this young fan who passed WAY too soon.

[FYI – The article is incorrect in stating:

“On May 22nd, Michael was laid to rest…

As per the Blog, he passed on May 22. His funeral service and cremation was on June 7th]

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NeoWolf

Stories like this give me hope, not just for devs and gamers..but also for humanity as a whole.
If more of us were like this and did things like this for each other as a standard, rather than an exception and not because we have to, but simply because its kind, selfless and decent. Well, that is a world I would love to live in.

Michael was clearly a special young man, in a special community of great and decent people who helped to take some of the mental burden of his inevitable outcome off his mind and let him enjoy his time instead among the stars.

Kudos to them all, and Michael rest in peace, you’ve earned it ;)

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Bruno Brito

Rest in peace, kid.