Greg Zanis, the man who dedicated his life to honoring the victims of mass shootings has died.
His daughter, Susie Zanis, confirmed his death Monday morning on Facebook, according to reports.
“R.I.P. Dad,” Susie wrote. “I know you were ready to go but we weren’t ready to lose you.”
His death was also confirmed by the mayor of the town where he lived. Mayor Richard C. Irvin, mayor of Aurora, Illinois, released the following statement.
Mr. Greg Zanis was a giant among men. He was a man of action who simply wanted to honor the lives of others. In return, his life was one of honor and one that was celebrated throughout our nation and world. Heeding to the scripture ‘pick up your cross and follow me,’ Mr. Greg Zanis did just that. He picked up the crosses he made and followed his mission in the noblest of ways. His legacy shall forever be remembered in his hometown of Aurora and around the globe.
Greg began honoring victims of gun violence his father-in-law was murdered in 1996. He later founded, Crosses for Losses, and has since created 27,000 crosses dedicated to victims of gun violence.
“I am tired,” Greg told CNN when they traveled with him as he delivered two crosses to Saugus High School in Santa Clarita. It was the last trip he made before turning over his duties to Lutheran Church Charities.
“I suffer a lot when I do (the crosses). It’s very hard on me. I had the weight of the world on my shoulders.”
In December 2019, Susie announced her father would be retiring from his “ministry.”
Months later it was revealed Greg had only weeks to live – he had bladder cancer.
“This past few weeks has been gut wrenching for our family. Greg has now been given 4 to 6 WEEKS to live,” Susie wrote on April 4 on the family’s GoFundMe. “Today Greg has said he is ready to be with God which was comforting to hear but also very real and overwhelming for the family.”
With an unknown amount of time left, Susie organized a living visitation so those who wished to say goodbye and honor Greg one final time could do so.
Susie called it a “huge success.”
Days later, Greg died.
Lutheran Church Charities will continue what Greg began nearly 25 years ago.
“I promised we carry on his legacy and realize how big a legacy he has,” said Tim Hetzner, president and CEO of Lutheran Church Charities. “He’s just an incredible man and so humbled to take that on and take it forward.”
Share this to honor Greg and pray for his family during this extremely difficult time.