Michael Cuccione (January 5, 1985 – January 13, 2001)
Michael James Cuccione was born in Burnaby, British Columbia and raised in neighboring Coquitlam. In July 2004, at 9 years of age, Cuccione was diagnosed with stage 2A Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that affects the lymph nodes. He endured five months of chemotherapy. His cancer returned the next year and metastasized to his lungs. He again underwent more chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant and 12 radiation treatments around his heart and lungs. Pronounced cancer free, Cuccione was left with permanent lung and respiratory problems.
He soon turned toward advocacy. He established the Michael Cuccione Foundation for Cancer Research. He recorded a five-song CD, Make a Difference and wrote a book with his grandmother, There are Survivors: The Michael Cuccione Story. All proceeds from both projects went to cancer research and Cuccione began making many TV, radio, school and hospital appearances to raise awareness and various other fundraising endeavors.
In July 1997, after requesting to meet Baywatch star David Hasselhoff, Cuccione appeared in an episode. The producers of the movie and TV series 2ge+her discovered Cuccione and cast him as Jason “QT” McKnight. This spoof band from the show toured and opened for Britney Spears.
As the second series of the TV show 2ge+her started filming, Cuccione began experiencing more frequent breathing troubles and required an oxygen tank on set. Unfortunately, his troubles increased and Cuccione soon had to miss tapings and public appearances. He was involved in a minor car accident and was unable to fight off the effects of it. He had to enter the hospital on December 4, 2000, suffering from pneumonia. On January 13, 2001, eight days after his 16th birthday, Cuccione succumbed to respiratory failure. All four 2ge+her band/cast
mates attended Cuccione’s funeral as did actor Hasselhoff, who delivered a eulogy.