MONTREAL -- Former Montreal Alouette fullback Michael Soles, who battled against ALS after his playing career, has passed away at the age of 54.

Soles began his career with the team that was then known as the Edmonton Eskimos in 1989. He won a Grey Cup with Edmonton in 1993 but in 1996, he joined the Als as a free agent in inaugural season of the team's new iteration.

His best season as an Alouette came in that first year, when he caught for 506 yards and eight touchdowns and rushed for another 340 yards. That year, he was selected to the CFL All-Star team and won the Lew Hayman Trophy for the Most Outstanding Canadian Player in the league's East Division.

In total, he ran for 3,007 yards and scored 20 rushing touchdowns and added another 3,500 yards on caught passes and 25 receiving touchdowns.

“Soles was the face of the Alouettes when the team made a return in the league. He was a true leader on the team and in the community,” declared Alouettes president Mario Cecchini. “We will all remember a fighter, a true soldier and he will be missed.”

Alouettes general manager Danny Maciocia, who coached Soles during his time with the Alouettes, remembered him as “a great football player (who) always saw the Alouettes like his second family. He fought until the end and despite being sick, he never gave up and was always smiling. He had a great influence on my career and was more than a friend for me.”

Soles, a native of the Montreal area, played college ball for McGill University, leading the team to the 1987 Vanier Cup national championship.

He first went public with his diagnosis in 2013.

He is survived by his wife Catherine and children Anthony, Matthew and Justine.