University of Kentucky Dance Team Honors Member Kate Kaufling After Her Death

Days after University of Kentucky nursing student Kate Kaufling died at the age of 20 from cancer, her former teammates remembered her on social media.

By Olivia Evans Apr 04, 2024 3:52 PMTags
Watch: University of Kentucky Dancer Kate Kaufling Dead at 20

The University of Kentucky dancers are memorializing their late teammate. 

Days after the college shared Kate Kaufling died after a year-long battle with cancer, her fellow squad members shared a tribute on social media. 

"Heaven has gained a beautiful Angel," their April 2 post, which includes a collage of photos of Kate, reads. "Please keep Kate's family and our UKDT family in your thoughts and prayers."

After starting at University of Kentucky in fall 2022, Kate joined the dance team with her twin sister Abbey Kaufling. Their coach Dawn Waters described the late 20-year-old in a statement as "a joy to coach and be around."

As Dawn put it, "Her smile could light up a room and she was beloved by all."

However, Kate was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2023, and underwent chemotherapy, which she later detailed on social media after completing treatment. 

"2023 was by far not the year I had in mind," the nursing student wrote in a January 6 Instagram post. "Cancer is a curse I wish on no human being, but it did change my outlook on life. Hold on to your loved ones as long as you can."

Celebrity Deaths: 2024's Fallen Stars

Kate—who wrote she "refused" to detail her cancer experience until her treatment was finished—also continued her school studies through chemotherapy. Sandy Bell, the UK Executive Associate Athletics Director said she set "an amazing example for her teammates."

After her death, Kate's sister also shared a post honoring her memory. 

"As I sit here today I ask myself how I am supposed to go on without my twin sister, maid of honor, and soulmate doing all the things with me," Abbey wrote in an April 1 Instagram post. "But I will for you Kate. I promise to wake up every day and live my life for you Kate. As heartbroken as I am right now, I can say I have the best guardian angel in all of heaven. I can't wait to squeeze you forever again one day."

Kate is also survived by her parents Holly Kaufling and Steve Kaufling.

Latest News