After 41 years, a friendship forged in football ends

In a perfect world there would be happy endings to stories about cancer, but there’s nothing perfect about cancer, of course.

Last month, a couple of Vikings fans ripped our collective heart out with their poignant story of friendship.

Joe Marushin, from St. Paul Park, stopped his chemo in early August because he was too sick.

His best friend for 41 years, Jim Small, was already in the last days of his fight with esophageal cancer.

After they were both diagnosed, they vowed to attend as many Minnesota Vikings games together as they could, KARE 11 said.

“It brought us together again. And it brought us closer,” Marushin said.

Jim had only days to live when the pair took in what figured to be their last game together — a home preseason game against Tampa Bay in mid-August.

It was.

Jim Small died this week, his family said.