A University of Kentucky dance team member who had been fighting cancer died over the weekend, school officials said.

Kate Kaufling, who had osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, died Sunday. She was 20, according to a Monday statement from UK Athletics.

The sophomore joined the college’s dance team with her twin sister, Abbey, last fall, the statement said.

Dance coach Dawn Walters said Kaufling was a popular member of the team who inspired other dancers with her toughness and bravery.

Kate Kaufling.UK Athletics

“Kate was a joy to coach and to be around. Her smile could light up a room and she was beloved by all of her UKDT teammates,” Walters said. “ … She was brave until the very end and all of us can draw inspiration from the courageous battle that she fought.”

The university’s athletic director said Kaufling not only excelled as a dancer, but she also worked hard in the classroom.

“Kate was also an amazing student, in the college of nursing, who took her academics very seriously,” Executive Associate Athletics Director Sandy Bell said in a statement. “Even during her cancer treatments, Kate kept up with her studies, setting an amazing example for her teammates. Kate was beloved by all who knew her and she will be deeply missed.”


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