The parents of Charlie Gard, the terminally ill baby at the centre of a legal battle that garnered international attention, announced late Friday that their son has died. “Our beautiful little boy has gone. We are so proud of you, Charlie,” The Daily Mail quoted Charlie’s parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates.
The tragic news comes after a London judge denied the grieving couple their “final wish” to take Charlie home to die. Judge Nicholas Francis ruled that authorities at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital must move critically ill infant Charlie Gard to a hospice, just days before his first birthday, Aug. 4.
Charlie’s mother, Connie Yates, left the courtroom in distress before the judge gave the earlier ruling. “What if it was your child?” Yates cried. As she left, she said: “I hope you are happy with yourselves.”
The 11-month-old was born with mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare genetic disease which caused brain damage and left the child unable to breathe on his own. His parents fought a lengthy legal battle with Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) to allow him to be taken to the US for treatment. But on Monday they dropped their legal battle after Prof Michio Hirano, the American neurologist who had offered to treat him, said it was too late for it to work.
“Mummy and Daddy love you so much Charlie, we always have and we always will and we are so sorry that we couldn’t save you,” his parents wrote upon announcing their decision. “We had the chance but we weren’t allowed to give you that chance.
“Sweet dreams baby. Sleep tight, our beautiful little boy.”
Hundreds of people – called Charlie’s Army – lent their support to his parents, who raised £1.35m to take him to the US for treatment. President Donald Trump and Pope Francis helped to bring international attention to Charlie’s story and his parents’ battle to save his life.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “I am deeply saddened by the death of Charlie Gard. My thoughts and prayers are with Charlie’s parents Chris and Connie at this difficult time.”
Pope Francis tweeted: “I entrust little Charlie to the Father and pray for his parents and all those who loved him.”
GOSH said it sent its “heartfelt condolences” to Charlie’s parents and loved ones.
Our prayers continue for the family’s strength through these trying times.