CFL

Vanier Cup, Grey Cup-champion fullback Micheal Soles passes away at age of 54

Canadian fullback Michael Soles, who won Vanier Cup and Grey Cup titles during his football career, has died. The native of Pointe-Claire, Que. was 54.

Former Montreal, Edmonton player was diagnosed with ALS in 2013

In 2013, Michael Soles, seen above playing for the Montreal Alouettes, revealed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis diagnosis, a neurodegenerative condition commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. (@MTLAlouettes/Twitter)

Canadian fullback Michael Soles, who won Vanier Cup and Grey Cup titles during his football career, has died. He was 54.

Soles, a native of Pointe-Claire, Que., died Wednesday, the Montreal Alouettes confirmed in a statement Thursday. In 2013, Soles revealed he'd been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurodegenerative condition more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Soles helped McGill University win a Vanier Cup title as Canadian university's football top team in 1987. He later played on Edmonton's Grey Cup-winning squad in 1993.

Soles played 11 seasons in the CFL with Edmonton (1989-95) and Montreal (1996-1999). He was a league all-star in his first season with the Alouettes.

"Our thoughts go to his family and friends," Alouettes GM Danny Maciocia, who coached Soles in Montreal, said in a statement. "He was a great football player and always saw the Alouettes like his second family.

"He fought until the end and despite being sick, he never gave up and was always smiling. He had a great influence on my career and was more than a friend for me."

Soles was an All-Canadian twice at McGill, rushing for 2,231 yards in 20 regular-season appearances. He led the school to a 47-11 Vanier Cup victory over the UBC Thunderbirds, earning MVP honours after running for 203 yards.

He was taken in the first round, No. 5 overall, by Edmonton in the 1989 CFL draft. He rushed for 3,007 yards on 579 carries with 45 touchdowns over his professional career and added 325 catches for 3,501 yards and 25 TDs.

"Sad to hear about the passing of my friend and exceptional teammate, Michael Soles," tweeted CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie. "I know Michael loved life and how much he loved his family.

"Today, the people that knew him feel a deep and profound sadness. The qualities he exhibited each day should inspire us to make the world a better place. He will always be remembered as someone who made a difference."

Soles was inducted into the McGill Hall of Fame in 2000.

"[Michael] Soles was the face of the Alouettes when the team made a return in the league," Montreal president Mario Cecchini said. "He was a true leader on the team and in the community.

"We will all remember a fighter, a true soldier and he will be missed".

Soles is survived by his wife Catherine, sons Anthony and Matthew, and daughter Justine.

Funeral arrangements weren't immediately available.

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