Six online gamers have finally met in real life, but under tragic circumstances, after one of their group fell terminally ill. Known only as Joe, the 23-year-old has been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma - a rare type of cancerous tumour that grows in bones or soft tissue around the bones. Due to their close online friendship, his pals are now at his bedside in the hospice where he is receiving treatment.

According to a report in Lad Bible, the story came out after a moving image of them together was posted on Reddit. David Miller, of New Brunswick, Canada felt moved to share the image after meeting up with his online friends and Joe.

Gamers forge a close friendship

Miller told the BBC that the group played virtually everything online. He said they played almost all the time but if they weren’t playing, they would just hang out together online talking about pretty much anything.

David said the gamers had an idea they would meet up eventually, but due to the nature of the situation with Joe, they realised their time together was limited and they had to plan the meet up sooner, rather than later after finding out about Joe’s diagnosis this summer.

After years of playing games together online, the image shows them meeting in person around Joe’s bedside in a hospice centre in New Jersey.

Joe is currently receiving cancer treatment after receiving the diagnosis of Ewing’s sarcoma. Despite the tragic circumstances that brought them together, the image does send out a truly heartwarming message of a friendship forged online while playing games.

Gamers dreamed of meeting up in person

Miller told the BBC they knew they had to do it for Joe, hanging out just like they have a thousand times before.

He said it meant everything to all of them, but especially to Joe himself. Admitting there were tears involved, he said they had dreamed of the six gamers getting together from the beginning and he said it was amazing that dream came true.

As for the Reddit community, they fully supported the message shared in the image. Some users described the meeting as being “so special,” while others commented to say how amazing it was.

The image was upvoted on Reddit 150,000 times.

While many say gamers are wasting their time playing online, one Reddit user pointed out that Gaming forges tight communities and this is clear from the story of Joe and his friends. It is tragic that the friends got together under such sad circumstances, but it does reveal the friendships that can be forged in the gaming community. It shows gaming isn’t as anti-social as many believe.