David Menasche, a Broward resident and former Coral Reef Senior High English teacher who had been stricken with brain cancer and wrote a book about reconnecting with his former students, has died.
According to a post on his personal Facebook, a family member of Menasche's announced that he passed away early Thursday morning "surrounded by his family."
He was 42.
Menasche, who grew up in Broward and became a teacher at Coral Reef Senior High School in Miami, had become a force of inspiration as his story made the media rounds last year. A passionate English teacher, Menasche's brain cancer took from him his sight, his mobility, and his ability to teach.
Undaunted, he decided to take on a personal cross-country journey he called "Vision Quest" to visit hundreds of his former students and see how he had impacted their lives. He then wrote a book about it titled The Priority List: A Teacher's Final Quest to Discover Life's Greatest Lessons.
"The purpose of the trip was to regain what brain cancer took from me," Menasche told New Times in July of 2013. "Basically, my classroom."
What started as a writing project blossomed into The Priority List, which was released in January. Soon after, Hollywood came calling and purchased the book's rights for a film project based on Menasche's life that has Steve Carell attached to star.
As it was with everything in Menasche's life, the Hollywood book deal was tackled with passion and ferocity. After Warner Bros. tried to get him to change things up and lighten the mood for a second manuscript, Menasche told us he'd fight to keep the edge of his original idea intact.
"That first manuscript had more of an edge to it," Menasche said. "It dealt with my childhood and was something the publisher ultimately steered me away from to make it a bit more family-friendly. But I'd love to have some of that first manuscript in the film."
The film is still in preproduction.
During the entirety of his "Vision Quest," which started on November of 2012 and finished in February of 2013, Menasche covered 31 cities on 101 days on the road and reconnected with 75 of his former students.
The Facebook post announcing his death Thursday morning is being inundated with tributes and condolences:
You can purchase a copy of The Priority List: A Teacher's Final Quest to Discover Life's Greatest Lessons here.