Julian Dies of ALS


Jeff Julian died Thursday in his Vermont home at 11:15 a.m. ET after a near three-year battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Julian, who had moved in March to the family farm where he grew up in Norwich, was two weeks shy of his 43rd birthday.
Julian was diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrigs disease, on October 8, 2001. He continued to play on the PGA Tour despite his terminal illness, getting seven sponsors invitations in 2002.
Julian played on the PGA Tour in 1996 and 2001, and was a member of the Nationwide Tour in 1990 and 1997-2000. He won the 1997 Dominion Open.
'The PGA Tour is saddened to learn of Jeff Julian's passing earlier today. For the second time this year, the Tour family has been diminished by the devastating effects of ALS,' commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement.
'Just as with Bruce Edwards before him, Jeff's courage and good humor in the face of the terrible illness served as an inspiration to friends and fans everywhere. He was determined to make something positive out of his illness.'
Just eight months after getting married on Feb. 15, 2001, Jeff and his new bride Kim discovered he had Bulbar ALS, the more serious form of the disease. Normally, the disease starts in the limbs and works its way up the body, eventually affecting speech, swallowing and the respiratory system. But thats where it started for Jeff.
He and his family began to notice deterioration in his speech as early as June, 2001. He was also having trouble swallowing, choking at times.
ALS is both progressive and degenerative. It attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, eventually leaving many of its victims paralyzed and without speech. The average lifespan for an ALS patient is five years. There is no known cure.
Julian stood brave in the face of adversity. He, Tom Watson and Edwards, who was diagnosed with ALS in January, 2003, formed Driving4Life to help raise funds for the ALS Therapy Development Foundation. Edwards, the longtime caddie for Watson, died April 8, the Thursday of this years Masters Tournament.
Julian received the Golf Writers Association of Americas Ben Hogan Award in 2003, given annually to someone who continues to stay active in the game despite a serious illness or disability.
Born July 29, 1961 in Portland, Maine, Julian attended Clemson University before turning professional in 1986. He won the 1992 Bangor Open and the 1995 New England Open, and was twice named the Vermont PGA Player of the Year.
Julian is survived by wife Kim, whom he met at the 2000 Ozarks Open, son Keegan and step-son Tyler.
Related Links:
  • Rich Lerner: 'Julian Lives On'
  • More on Jeff Julian's Story
  • Driving 4 Life Website
  • ALS Therapy Development Foundation