After more than five years of fighting an aggressive stage-4 colon cancer, coach Stephen Gussler was sent home from the hospital last week to be cared for by family and hospice.
The news came as a shock to many in the community, which has rallied around the popular Thomas Worthington High School baseball coach and teacher.
The thousands of people who follow the news of Gussler's struggles were stunned, as scans in February showed no signs of cancer in his body.
"After such positive results previously, unfortunately, with the intensive treatment, coach's body has begun to shut down," Thomas Worthington principal Jim Gaskill announced to students and staff members April 12.
Contrary to some social-media reports, Gussler has not been told how long he has to live, Gaskill continued.
"Coach will be at home under the care of hospice," Gaskill said. "There have been no timelines provided to the family, and the family has asked for privacy so that they can spend time together and provide as much normalcy as possible for their children."
Administrators and counselors were made available to any student who needed help following the news.
Gussler is married and has four children.
During his years as a coach and teacher, Gussler touched the lives of many in the community. In turn, the community has rallied around him since his diagnosis in 2008.
"GussStrong" has been the rallying cry. The term has been used on T-shirts and bracelets and banners and signs at the many community events held to honor and support the beloved coach, teacher and friend to many as he underwent many rounds of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation to try to beat the advanced-stage cancer.
Although he's unable to continue teaching or coaching, Gussler on Friday, April 11, attended the Thomas Worthington baseball game to encourage players and to see his name on the new scoreboard.
The baseball park has been named Frank Welling Field at Gussler Park.