Alfie Evans, a terminally ill toddler whose medical case set off a high-profile legal battle and worldwide debates about health care and parental rights, died early Saturday morning, his parents said on social media.
His parents, Tom Evans, 21 and Kate James, 20, had fought to take their son to a foreign hospital for treatment for a degenerative medical condition, but lost a final court appeal on Wednesday.
"Our baby boy grew his wings tonight ..." "My Gladiator laid down his shield and got wings... my heart is absolutely broken", - he wrote. "Thank you everyone for all your support", Kate James, Alfie Evans' mother, shared on Facebook.
Alfie's life support at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool was removed on Monday following a High Court ruling which denied his parents' application to take him overseas for treatment.
Evans said on Thursday that their lives had been turned upside down by the intense focus his son's case had received in Britain and around the world.
The hospital issued a statement Saturday expressing its "heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Alfie's family at this extremely distressing time". "This has been a devastating journey for them".
"Thomas [Sarah's brother and Alfie's dad] just wants to thank you all for the support you've all shown".
Alfie, who was born in May 2016, was first admitted to the hospital the following December after suffering seizures, and had been a patient ever since. "Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace", the pope tweeted on Saturday.
Tom Evans broke the heartbreaking news
The child's life support was withdrawn on Monday following orders by the High Court.
"The only master of life, from the beginning to its natural end, is God, and our duty is to do everything to protect life", he said.
The hospital said that further attempts to treat the child are meaningless and, indeed, inhumane.
Earlier in April, Thomas Evans had visited Pope Francis in Rome, pleading with him to "save our son". His parents also demanded from the authorities not to disconnect the child from life support. We understand the last few months have been hard for them.
His parents, who live in Bootle, wanted to fly the toddler to an Italian hospital, but this was rejected by doctors who said continuing treatment was "not in Alfie's best interests".
Tensions between the toddler's parents and the hospital had eased in recent days.
Supporters of Alfie's parents protested outside the hospital, prompting its bosses to defend staff who they said had endured a "barrage" of abuse.
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