Buffalo Bills linebacker Tony Steward shared a heartbreaking tribute to his late fiancée, Brittany Ann Burns, via Instagram on Thursday, February 4, just two days after she tragically died of ovarian cancer at age 26.
“Hope when you take that jump, you don’t fear the fall / Hope when the water rises, you built a wall,” he captioned a picture of them together, quoting the lyrics to One Republic’s single “I Lived.” “Hope when the crowd screams out, they’re screaming your name / Hope if everybody runs, you choose to stay.”
In the photo, Steward, 23, and Burns grin at the camera in front of a brilliant, blue sky.
Burns, who rowed competitively at Clemson University, where the pair met, was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer on December 9. Steward dropped down on one knee to propose to her just days later.
“This is our forever I love you with my whole heart for my whole life @tony_thetiger7!” Burns captioned a sweet snapshot of the moment back in December. In the photo, she has her back to the camera as a smiling Steward kneels before her with an open ring box.
Not long after her diagnosis, the couple created a CrowdRise fundraising page, the Fight Like a Girl campaign, in hopes of helping other women battling ovarian cancer. As recently as last week, Burns was still sharing encouraging images of several men showing their support for the campaign on her Instagram, as well as updates about her health.
“Thankful for the care at the hospital but I’m so ready to move on and start doing better from home,” she tweeted on Sunday, January 24.
On Tuesday, February 2, Steward shared another gorgeous shot of his late fiancée, along with some touching words.
Brittany Ann Steward! Wow BEAUTIFUL is the only way I know you. You have the biggest heart I have ever seen in my entire life and I promise you that it will live on in me, our family and every single soul you have touched. You are the strongest and most loving soul to step foot in this world. You have been my rock, my motivation, my heart, my soulmate, my everything since the day I laid eyes on you. Every single day of your life you have been a fighter and I know this because of the unbelievable family you brought me into. We will all honor everything you stand for in life. I will continue to be the person that you always bring out in me. Believe me when I say that I deeply love you with every ounce of everything in me. Love always, Your Fiancé #fightinglikeagirl #fightlikebritt
“Brittany Ann Steward!” he wrote, adding his last name onto her first and middle names. “Wow BEAUTIFUL is the only way I know you. You have the biggest heart I have ever seen in my entire life and I promise you that it will live on in me, our family and every single soul you have touched. … Believe me when I say that I deeply love you with every ounce of everything in me. Loe always, Your Fiancé #fightinglikeagirl #fightlikebritt.”
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