For 18 months Peter Troake defied the odds and left doctors astounded.
The inspirational teenager was diagnosed with chondroblastic osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, on his 17th birthday.
On Sunday, his battle ended when the sheer volume of cancer in his body became too much - but his family say he did not lose.
"Peter fought a battle, he fought a lot longer than any text book or any medical knowledge could have possibly imagined," brother Jacob Troake said.
"He defied the impossible and he fought such a hard battle. He didn't lose the battle, he won because of how many people he touched and the legacy that he's left and the strength that he's shown people and the lives that he's changed by just talking to people for two minutes - that I do not consider a loss in a battle. That most certainly is a win for how many people he's touched."
The 18-year-old student of Auckland's Kristin School woke up one morning 18 months ago with a lump on his left rib cage, sister Emily Just said. Tests confirmed it was a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer.
He was admitted to Starship and started chemotherapy but three weeks later a scan showed it had continued to grow and spread.
That was when doctors told the family his cancer was terminal and asked Peter if he wanted to continue treatment or not.
Not willing to give up without a fight the family sought a second opinion. That oncologist agreed there will still options worth exploring so he begun five months of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation - a treatment not usually used for his type of cancer.
Through all that time his family stayed by his side, constantly researching other treatments to work in tandem with the traditional ones. They tried diets and vitamin treatments and made sure he had psychological and spiritual support.
Tests after that showed the cancer was 99.5 per cent dead although there was a small nodule on his right lung.
He had surgery to remove it - a procedure which usually takes about three days to recover from. Twenty hours after the operation he astounded doctors by walking out of the hospital, Emily said.
Then in September he was told he was in remission.
"From there we had an absolutely incredible four months," Emily said.
The family took trips together up north and the passionate golfer spent as much time as he could on the golf course with friends and family.
In January, the day after he completed a King of the Mountain race and "absolutely obliterated the rest of his family" he began struggling to breathe, Emily said.
Scans showed he had tumours all over his right lung which were pressing on his windpipe.
His breathing worsened as they worked to figure out what was next. He started a third round of chemotherapy and more radiation which kept him well enough to take part in Emily's wedding in February.
When tests showed the treatments were not working his family found a private clinic willing to try the immunotherapy drug, Keytruda. Early indications were it was keeping his condition stable.
Last Thursday, he complained he could not sleep so doctors gave him medication to help keep him relaxed.
His family took him home and kept him comfortable but it was not until his breathing changed on Sunday morning the family realised the end was coming and at 1.30pm he passed away.
"It wasn't actually because of disease progression," Emily said. "It just got too much for his body and his body just got tired."
Despite the medical hurdles he continually overcame, it was Peter's attitude throughout everything that left a mark on everyone he met.
Mother Victoria Troake said Peter was an incredible person. "You wouldn't even know him for long and soon you were his best mate. That's the sort of thing we're hearing over and over again."
Jacob said what made Peter so well loved was that he was so selfless.
He would never complain and was often the one comforting his family after receiving bad news.
"He said to the oncologist who gave him the news his cancer was terminal, 'I'm sorry you had to give me that news'," Jacob said.
Family friend Fraser Bainbridge agreed Peter always seemed more worried about how his friends and family were doing than about himself.
Kristin School executive principal Tim Oughton said Peter's peers had been shocked today to learn of his death.
"He was one hell of a remarkable kid," Oughton said. "His resilience was unbelievable. He never ever gave up hope ... When you went to see him he always had a joke and a smile."