BOSTON (CBS) – Travis Roy, who was paralyzed during his first shift with the Boston University hockey team and went on to raise money for those living with spinal cord injuries, died Thursday.

Roy was paralyzed from the neck down Just 11 seconds into his freshman debut with the team at Walter Brown Arena on Oct. 20, 1995.

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Travis Roy. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

While the accident changed his life forever, Roy decided to focus his efforts on helping others with spinal cord injuries as an activist and spokesman.

Roy was 45 years old. A cause of death was not immediately known.

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An emotional Jack Parker, Roy’s coach at BU, spoke with WBZ-TV on Thursday, saying his former player was always “upbeat”, even after the injury.

“He’s gone out of his way to help people, even though he’s had a tough time of it, every day. Nobody knows how hard it was for Travis every day. He went out of his way to help other people all the time, and he always upbeat. The things his foundation has done for people like himself that were in a chair, beyond belief.”

In a statement, Boston University said, “It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the passing of Travis Roy. His story is the epitome of inspiration and courage, and he was a role model and a hero to so many people. Travis’ work and dedication towards helping fellow spinal cord-injury survivors is nothing short of amazing. His legacy will last forever, not just within the Boston University community, but with the countless lives he has impacted across the country. Our sincere thoughts are with his wonderful family as well as his vast support group of friends and colleagues.”

Boston Bruins president Cam Neely called Roy “the ultimate symbol of determination and courage.”

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“The impact that Travis had on the New England hockey community is immeasurable, and his relentless advocacy for spinal cord research was inspiring,” said Neely in a statement. “The Bruins offer sincere condolences to the Roy family, the Travis Roy Foundation, Boston University, and all of those who knew and loved Travis Roy.”