It was a fight that raised thousands for brain tumor research but ultimately claimed the life of a popular University of Victoria alumnus.
Former UVic Vikes football captain Mackenzie Rigg died of a brain tumor on March 11 at the age of 26, surrounded by his mother Barbara, father Chris and sister Madeline.
Rigg was a UVic soccer team captain and a two-time Canadian, and the news of his death was a devastating blow to the Vikes community, who raised more than $120,000 during two Vikes Kick Cancer relays organized on Rigg’s behalf.
“Mackenzie embodied everything it means to be a Vike. He had a wonderfully contagious positive spirit, from his talent as an athlete to his leadership and genuine desire to help. I would like to extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends who, like all of us, are grieving this loss,” said Clint Hamilton, Senior Director of Athletics and Recreation at UVic.
However, Rigg was much more than just a soccer player: a terrific student, an academic full-time Canadian, a member of the Vikes College Council, facilitator of the Vikes’ largest fundraiser, a volunteer and an outstanding person.
Okanagan-Mission Secondary School product, a standout high school product, was named Tournament MVP of the BC Double-A Provincial Soccer Championships. That day, UVic head coach Bruce Wilson presented Rigg with the MVP award, who promptly recruited the promising defender.
Wilson credits Rigg not only for his versatility on the pitch, but for being a dependable and intelligent leader that players have looked up to.
“This is tragic news. Mackenzie was extremely intelligent and a great student. He was the type of player you could always count on, never missing a workout and doing whatever was asked of him. I’ve been fortunate enough to keep in touch with him over the past few years and it’s a great loss,” Wilson said.
Rigg was diagnosed with a brain tumor in July 2020 after a series of intense headaches.
Rigg played 59 games in his UVic career, including 49 as a starter, and recorded 4,444 minutes. He was an Academic All-Canadian in the 2016–17 season. The highlight was Canada West’s silver medal won by the Vikes in 2015-16. After graduating, he was signed by the Victoria Highlanders.
Those who knew him best will remember him for his dedication to sport and academic pursuits, his spirit of adventure, and his big heart that never gave up.
The Vikes Kick Cancer initiative was established in his honor to raise money for the Brain Tumor Foundation of Canada.
In lieu of flowers, the Rigg family would appeal for donations to the Brain Tumor Foundation, braintumour.ca/mackenzie-rigg.
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