Buffalo Bills super fan Ezra Castro, who was known as Pancho Billa for his game-day outfit that includes a sombrero and facemask in the NFL team’s red, white and blue colors, died Tuesday after battling cancer.
The 39-year-old mortician from Dallas was diagnosed with spinal cancer in 2017. He had been hospitalized at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center since April.
“Our hearts are broken as we have lost our dear brother Ezra “Pancho Billa” this morning,” his family said in a statement. “We are thankful and forever grateful for all the love and support during this journey. Ezra was surrounded by family and loved ones. At this time we ask for privacy as we mourn our loss.”
Bills co-owner Kim Pegula tweeted that Castro was “a tremendous inspiration for our team.”
Pancho was a pillar of positive strength and energy for me and all of #BillsMafia. He’s been a tremendous inspiration for our team. I was fortunate enough to spend time with him and get to know his story. My heart goes out to his children, friends and family. Viva Los Bills! pic.twitter.com/UFBVMjMWDd
— Kim Pegula (@KimPegula) May 14, 2019
A Bills fan through-and-through, and an inspiration to us all.
Castro was also beloved by the Bills’ players. Defensive tackle Harrison Phillips delivered a photo signed by the entire team to Castro last December after one of the Bills’ victories. And Ed Oliver, the team’s first-round pick in last month’s draft, paid a visit to Castro in the hospital soon after he was selected.
Castro attended numerous Bills games on the road and at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York, earning him the honor of being named the inaugural member of the Buffalo Fan Wall of Fame.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.