Randy Pausch, 'Last Lecture' Professor Dies

Peter Riebling, a lawyer from Vienna, Va., handed his 10-year-old daughter, Kimberly, a pencil and gave her free reign on her bedroom walls. "He told me to go draw on my walls, so at first I honestly thought he had gone crazy, because most parents wouldn't let their children draw on the walls, especially when they are brand new and painted and stuff. So I did start drawing on my walls -- and then I actually found it was extremely fun so I kept doing it," said Kimberly.

Diane Gregory from Las Vegas encouraged her teenage son Matt to express himself by hanging every piece of sports memorabilia he had collected on his walls. Matt jumped at the opportunity and with the tacks and double-sided tape went to work. Harry Wooten, a choir minister from Dallas, uses Pausch's message to touch his congregants through prayer and song.

After battling breast cancer, Kaje Lane of Los Angeles says Pausch has inspired her to pursue singing -- a passion she had put aside for many years.

"I think so many people relate to Randy because every one of us has some sort of dream they want to make real, or some sort of passion that they want to tap into if they're not already thinking that way. … I think people are just drawn to that. It's very magnetic to see someone positive not just about the big things but the little things."

'Leave It All on the Field'

Even though he had enabled the dreams of so many others, we couldn't help but notice that there was one dream Pausch had never been able to fulfill -- playing in the NFL.

So ABC News made a couple of phone calls, and in October, Pausch took the field with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was wearing the jersey of his favorite player: wide receiver Heinz Ward.

Moments later he was catching balls thrown by Ward.

He caught every pass -- and even kicked a field goal, on his first attempt.

"There was a definite sense," Pausch told Sawyer, "when I put that talk together, to use another football expression, you know, I wanted to leave it all on the field. … If I thought it was important, it's in there. I played in football games where you walk off the field and the scoreboard didn't end up the way you wanted. But you knew that you really did give it all. And the other team was too strong. Yeah, I'm not going to beat the cancer. I tried really hard … but sometimes you're just not going to beat the thing…I wanted to walk off the stage and say anything I thought was important, I had my hour."

After a bout earlier this year in the hospital to overcome kidney and congestive heart failure -- side effects of his chemotherapy -- Pausch returned home to his family.

"His fate is, is our fate, but it's just sped up," said co-author Jeff Zaslow. "He's, you know, 47, and, and we don't know when we're gonna go, but we all have the same fate. We're all dying, just like Randy is … when we can see him, how he's, how he's traveling, it makes us think about how we're going to travel."

Millions of people around the globe have been touched by his message of optimism.

Last spring, Sawyer asked Pausch what was the best thing that had happened to him that day. He replied, "Well, first off, I'd say the day's not over yet. So there's always a chance that there will be a new best."

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