Sports

El Paso native and Bills superfan Pancho Billa dies after battling cancer

Remembering Pancho Billa

Ezra Castro, better known as Bills superfan "Pancho Billa," died Tuesday after a lengthy battle with cancer. 

Castro, an El Paso native, became known across the country as one of the biggest supporters of the Buffalo Bills and even got a chance to read out a draft pick at the 2018 NFL Draft. 

Castro played football for Riverside High School before eventually moving to the Dallas area. 

His family tweeted out the following message Tuesday morning: 

"Our hearts broken as we have lost our dear brother Ezra "Pancho Billa" this morning. We are thankful and forever grateful for all the love and support during this journey. Ezra was surrounded by family and loved ones. At this time we ask for privacy as we mourn our loss."

Doctors found a cancerous mass wrapped around Castro's spine in November of 2017 that had already spread to his liver, lungs, and lymph nodes.  

But he never gave up hope for a recovery and received an outpouring of support from fellow Bills fans known as the Bills Mafia. 

Castro was also the leader of a large Buffalo Bills fan group in the Dallas/Fort Worth that has grown to more than 700 members

Several members of the Bills football team have expressed their support online, including quarterback Josh Allen.

"Heavy hearts in Buffalo today as we pray for Pancho and his family," Allen wrote on Twitter. "We will never lose your spirit and the inspiration you shared with us.  Pancho power forever!" 

Former Bills wide receiver and NFL Hall of Fame member Andre Reed echoed that sentiment in his own tweet. 

"Through misty eyes,I SEE CLEARLY what the NFL does for people like Pancho Billa," wrote Reed. "Football is more than a game, it’s FAMILY. The loss of this Bills Mafia member hurts, but we must keep his legacy alive - a legacy of community through love for our team."


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