Brian McKenna, a 32-year-old paralyzed New Orleans Saints fan befriended by Drew Brees, died last week.

His death was announced by Ellen DeGeneres on her TV talk show.

Ellen was actually the one who got Brees and McKenna together after she read an op-ed piece in the Washington Post written by Army veteran Jackson Smith entitled "How Drew Brees helped me and a friend get through war and heartache."

The article chronicled how McKenna elevated Smith's spirits while he was serving in Afghanistan by sending him a photo of a cutout of Smith posing with Brees and his wife Brittany following the Bacchus parade.

Smith then returned the favor following McKenna's bicycle accident in 2015 by getting Brees to pose with a cutout of McKenna after a Saints game.

In October 2015, Ellen had Smith and McKenna on her show. In addition to offering words of encouragement, the Brees family gave McKenna a $40,000 check to help him buy a high-tech wheelchair.

After visiting the Saints at practice and a game, where they met Brees, McKenna and Smith would make follow-up appearances on "Ellen", once getting a surprise in-person appearance from Brees.

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