Buffalo Bills super fan Ezra Castro, known as Pancho Billa, has died after fighting stage four cancer.
Our hearts broken as we have lost our dear brother ezra "Pancho Billa" this morning. We are thankful and forever grateful for all the love and support during this journey. Ezra was surrounded by family and loved ones. At this time we ask for privacy as we mourn our loss.— Pancho Billa (@PanchoBilla1) May 14, 2019
Castro, originally from El Paso, Texas eventually moved to Dallas and had no connection to Western New York but was considered one of the biggest Bills fans, stating in an interview with 7 Eyewitness News in 2018, “the Bills Mafia has really become a family to me.”
A family he gained due to a childhood choice. He loved the red, white and blue colors and he needed a favorite football team, the Bills became that favorite football team.
In the fall of 2017, Castro was diagnosed with stage four metastatic adenocarcinoma which was spreading in his liver, he was determined to fight.
“I’ve got two loving kids, a loving girlfriend and I’m only 39 years old, in that instant I thought of that and I said nope I’m gonna fight,” Castro said in a 2018 interview with 7EWN.
The 2018 NFL Draft was held in Dallas and “Pancho Billa” was center stage to announce the Bills selection of Harrison Phillips with the 96th pick. That is when the world really began to learn about the man behind the mask and his fight.
Castro made the trip to Rochester for training camp in the summer of 2018, he finally met Harrison Phillips the player he announced the Bills were drafting just a few months earlier.
Pancho Billa was honored by the BFLO Hall of Fame Experience back in December. He was given a Fan Wall of Fame plaque for his commitment to the team. He was the first Buffalo fan to receive this honor.
As time went on, Castro’s health began to decline, entering Hospice care after a few rough months.
Recently, Bills first round draft pick Ed Oliver visited Pancho Billa while he was in hospice. Just last month, it was Castro who informed the NFL via conference call that the Bills were selecting Oliver with their first round pick. Former Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson turned down the opportunity to announce a Bills draft pick and instead offered it to Pancho Billa.
"There's a lot of people out there fighting the same fight that I am. And I swear if I get on that microphone, it's going to be for those people that are fighting with me the same fight and that's who I want to do it for," Castro told 7 Eyewitness News when he learned about the opportunity. Unfortunately Castro would not be able to make the trip to Nashville, Tennessee because of his declining health.
Just recently, fans signed a petition asking the Buffalo Bills to sign Castro to a one day contract.
The Bills gave Castro a team to root for, he gave us an important reminder that when you’re a Bills fan you’re family, telling 7EWN just how much the Bills mean to him.
“If my fandemonium and my spirit can be put in every Bills fan to never give up on the team and just support them 100 percent win or lose, I mean, I’ve done my job.”
Castro is survived by two children and his girlfriend.