GRANDVILLE, Mich. -- After four years of battling cancer, former Grandville High School principal Chris VanderSlice lost his battle on Saturday.
In January 2014, VanderSlice was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as ALL.
"I am devastated and completely heartbroken," Tonya VanderSlice said, in a statement. "Today, Chris left his broken and battered body to run into the loving arms of his Savior, Jesus."
VanderSlice is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Just weeks before passing away, VanderSlice known to friends and family as 'Slice' remained optimistic.
VanderSlice never avoided a challenge from his days on the Hope College men's basketball team to his battle with ALL, which he called his greatest challenge, he kept moving forward with grit. He not only worked to motivate himself, but those in the Grandville community and school district. He introduced the phrase "Got Grit."
"We have great kids and great families in Grandville, but we're too nice sometimes and don't have the tough edge that really I wanted to see from our kids," VanderSlice said. "That was in athletics, that's in academics, just that don't give up, don't quit attitude."
VanderSlice, 40, told FOX 17's Mike Avery during an interview just a few weeks ago, "I can't wimp out of this, I have to show that Grit too. I've always been that way, I've always been a tough competitor and winning battles...I knew I had to show it and so I'm doing my best to show that to the Grandville students and the Grandville community, but first of all that's how you fight this battle you have to have grit you can't give up. Giving up is not in my vocabulary..."
Funeral arrangements for VanderSlice have not been released yet.
“My girls are missing their dad already,” Tonya said. “But Chris is finally free of the cancer that he suffered from the past four years, and the paralysis that held him back for the past two years.”
Chris VanderSlice's sister, Amy, has set up a GoFundMe page for Chris' daughters. Click here to contribute.