Minnesota soldier who gained international attention for his fight against cancer has died
ROSEMOUNT, Minn. -- Lt. Col. Mark Weber, the Rosemount soldier who became an inspiration to many as he battled terminal cancer for nearly three years, died shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon, according to a post on his Caringbridge site.
According to the post, he died at home surrounded by family and friends, hours after hospice doctors informed him the end was near.
Weber has gained international attention since his 2010 diagnosis of neuroendocrine cancer, which came shortly after he was selected to serve on the staff of Gen. David Petraeus in Afghanistan. He would have been military assistant to the minister of interior in President Hamid Karzai’s cabinet.
The diagnosis kept him from traveling to Afghanistan, but it did little to slow him down. He became a recruiter and promptly set records for the number of recruits he brought in.
Weber was a sought-after speaker in the final years of his life, and his positive attitude in the face of his terminal diagnosis won him admirers around the world.
Weber approached his fight with cancer with a true military spirit.
“I decided I needed to handle this like a deployment,” Weber told the Town Pages in October of 2007.
He called his fight against cancer Operation True Grit and created a combat patch to go along with it. He gave names to his scars.
“Anyone who knows me knows I’m a stubborn pain in the ass,” Weber said in 2010. “I don’t take no for an answer. This fight is no different.”
Last year, as he ended his service in the Army, Weber received the Legion of Merit and Outstanding Volunteer Service Awards. His wife, Kristin, received the Minnesota Superior Civilian Award for her volunteer work with the military. They received the honors from Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a ceremony attended by former Joint Chiefs chairman John Vessey and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Weber seemed to make an admirer of nearly everyone he met, whether singing with his son on Flag Day last year or, more recently, writing a book called “Tell My Sons”. That book started as a message to sons Matthew, Joshua and Noah. Weber self-published the book and it has since been picked up by Random House and published internationally.
Details on a funeral and visitation for Weber are pending.