‘Our beautiful little boy has gone, proud of you Charlie’
London, UK - Charlie Gard, the terminally-ill British baby whose plight drew sympathy from Pope Francis and US President Donald Trump and sparked a debate about medical ethics, died on Friday, his mother said.
His parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, had fought a lengthy legal battle to allow him to be taken to the United States for treatment for a rare genetic condition. But despite the international attention brought by his case, he died exactly one week short of his first birthday.
“Our beautiful little boy has gone. We are so proud of you, Charlie,” his mother Yates said in a statement.
A court had ordered that the 11 month old should be moved from hospital to a hospice, where his life support was withdrawn.
Supporters around the world donated £1.35mn via an online fundraising site to support his parents and their efforts to keep their son alive, while 350,000 signed a petition demanding that he be allowed to receive experimental treatment in the US.
Following news of the boy’s death, Pope Francis, who supported the campaign, tweeted: ‘I entrust little Charlie to the Father and pray for his parents and all those who loved him.’
British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was ‘deeply sad- dened’ by the death while US Vice President Mike Pence wrote he was: ‘Saddened to hear of the passing of Charlie Gard’.
Gard was born on August 4 last year with a rare form of mitochondrial disease that causes progressive muscle weakness, including in key organs such as the heart.
He was admitted to hospital at eight weeks old and his condition progressively deteriorated.
Gard’s parents fought a fivemonth legal battle for him to be taken to the US for experimental treatment. They lost a series of appeals in British courts and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Their campaign led to offers of help from the US and the Vatican, leading the hospital to ask the courts for a final assessment of any new evidence.
But the boy’s parents gave up their battle last week, saying ‘time has run out’, after they were shown scans indicating that his condition had deteriorated too far. ‘We are so sorry that we could not save you,’ they said in an emotional statement at the High Court in London.
The parents then asked for Gard to be taken to their home for his final days but were overruled by the hospital which said the ventilator keeping him alive was too bulky to fit through their front door. They finally agreed for him to be placed in a hospice.
Photographs of the baby dominated the front-pages of Britain’s Saturday newspapers, which paid tribute to a ‘beautiful little boy’.
This file photo shows a poster set up outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Monday