LONDON, ONT. -- Mario Vella defied the odds for more than 25 years as he battled Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Along the way he raised money and awareness to support ALS research at the Robarts Research Institute and the London Health Sciences Centre through his annual golf tournaments.

While battling his disease Mario never let it affect his fighting spirit by attending rock concerts and continuing to be an avid sports fan.

Condolences and shared memories are pouring in on Vella's Facebook page.

Jack Dundas posted he was "the kindest, most giving friend anyone could ever have asked for. His zest for life and friendship can’t be matched."

Mario was one of the longest living ALS survivors in Canada.

He died at the age of 49.