As you may already know, from my Author's Notes at the beginning and end of every chapter, Heero's alter ego, Chris, is based off of a real person, Chris Ireland. The character's personality, friends, experiences, and standing in the 'family' are all the same as Chris.
Up until recently, Chris suffered from the genetic disorder Cystic Fibrosis, an incurable and dehabilitating disease. Knowing that his life would be much shorter than that of a normal person, Chris took every chance to live his life to it's fullest. He went on the Europe with the school band, and was even Pit Captain. He had many friends and many people who loved his dearly.
Chris passed away at 5:00 Tuesday evening. (4/16/02) He was sixteen.