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Bills superfan Pancho Billa dies after cancer fight

The Buffalo Bills community is mourning the loss of one of its most passionate fans on Tuesday.

Ezra Castro, better known by his superfan persona "Pancho Billa," died on Tuesday morning following a lengthy battle with cancer, his family announced on Twitter. He was 39 years old.

"Our hearts broken as we have lost our dear brother ezra 'Pancho Billa' this morning," the family wrote. "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 also mourned Castro's loss on Twitter.

A Texas native and recognizable figure in the Bills Mafia, Castro became a symbol of strength in the Bills community after doctors discovered a cancerous tumor in his spine during the 2017 season, according to the Buffalo News. Bills fans started a GoFundMe page in Dec. 2017 to raise $30,000 for Castro's medical expenses. As of Tuesday, they had raised over $47,000.

Despite his battle, Castro made appearances at the last two NFL drafts. In 2018, Castro led a delegation of Bills fans to AT&T Stadium and was called onto the stage by Andre Reed and Fred Jackson to announce Buffalo's third-round pick, Harrison Phillips.

Ahead of the 2019 draft, Castro was hospitalized and was set to enter hospice care. Bills general manager Brandon Beane called Castro ahead of their ninth overall selection of Ed Oliver. The defensive lineman visited Castro at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center soon after.

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