ice bucket challengeAnthony Senerchia, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
© Pelham Funeral
The man who helped to propel the ice bucket challenge into a global social media phenomenon has died from motor neurone disease, aged 46.

Anthony Senerchia, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) 14 years ago, is survived by his wife Jeanette and nine-year-old daughter Taya.

His obituary read: 'Anthony's positive attitude and fighting spirit helped him beat doctors' expectations by living more than 10 years beyond their prognosis.

'If you asked Anthony, he would attribute this to his love and desire to be with his daughter Taya.

'Throughout his fight, Anthony maintained a positive attitude and would say: 'It's not what we take from life, but what we give back to others is what ultimately defines us."

Mr Senerchia, of Pelham, New York, became the inspiration for the ice bucket challenge when his wife was nominated to take it on by her cousin, pro golfer Chris Kennedy, The Journal News reported.

At the time, the challenge was not yet world-famous and had no connection to ALS, a type of motor neurone disease.

Mr Kennedy is thought to be the first person to reference the disease while completing the challenge, as he urged Mrs Senerchia to either pour icy water over her head or donate $100 (£74) to the ALS Association.

She previously told Time: 'My cousin Chris sent me a message telling me to check my Facebook.

'He nominated me as a joke because we bust each other's chops. I was just going to donate money.'

But the link with ALS quickly spread after Mrs Senerchia posted her ice bucket challenge on Facebook, with her husband serving as the inspiration.

In the summer of 2014, millions of people took on the ice bucket challenge and $115 million (£85 million) was donated towards ALS research.

Mrs Senerchia said her husband was a star high school football player who earned a degree in civil engineering from Manhattan College.

He worked as a project manager for a New York City construction firm and later started his own business.

Mr Senerchia also helped to create a youth football league in Pelham, where every year his high school presents an award in his name to an athlete who shows character and leadership.

He also started the Anthony Senerchia Jr. ALS Charitable Foundation while battling the disease.