KIRO 7 first met Ian Robert Smith when he was proudly showing his British Seahawks Union Jack at the Hawks season opener in 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Smith was leading thousands of flag-toting 12s to root on a team for the ages, which would go on to win the next Super Bowl.
“We speak, as a chapter, 14 mother languages, from Irish, Gaelic, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish… and they’re all Seahawks fans. They crop up in the strangest places,” Smith said in 2013.
When Smith started leading his U.K. Seahawker group on road trips to the States, it also marked the beginnings of the worldwide 12s becoming their own traveling force of nature, which has gone on to recruit new fans from all over Europe.
Since Smith’s legion of 12s started making an impression, the U.K. Seahawkers grew to include members from Italy, Germany, Denmark and Australia.
However, on January 3 2016, the man who dreamed of hosting the Seahawks in London and urged the NFL to make it happen died of a massive stroke at the age of 49.
The outpouring of love and memorials poured in from SoDo in Seattle -- to SoHo in London.
Ian died while the Seahawks were routing the Arizona Cardinals 36 to 6 -- the year Arizona won their division.
At Ian's funeral, friends lost count of how many people showed up wearing Hawks gear.
But this week -- Ian's extended family will repeat a familiar battle cry in one language -- in his memory --on his home field.
More news from KIRO 7:
- 6 children treated for sudden onset paralysis in Washington state
- Police investigating after woman's body found in northwest Olympia
- Mountlake Terrace police searching for woman with mental capacity of 8-year-old
- Dog found skinned in Thurston County was dumped by taxidermist
- Do you have an investigative story tip? Send us an email at email@example.com
© 2019 Cox Media Group.