Charlie Gard: Our beautiful little boy has gone, says his mother
Charlie’s fight for life is over following his death from a rare genetic condition just days before his first birthday.
Charlie Gard has died just a week shy of his first birthday, with his heartbroken parents paying tribute to their “beautiful little boy”.
The 11-month-old, who had a rare genetic condition, was at the centre of a legal battle between his parents and Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) that attracted worldwide attention.
In a statement following his death on Friday, his mother Connie Yates said: “Our beautiful little boy has gone, we’re so proud of him.”
Pope Francis, who had shown his support for Ms Yates and Charlie’s father Chris Gard during their lengthy legal challenge, said he was praying for the family following the baby boy’s death.
He tweeted: “I entrust little Charlie to the Father and pray for his parents and all those who loved him.”
A court had ordered that Charlie be moved to a hospice, where his life support would be withdrawn.
The hospital where he spent most of his short life sent “heartfelt condolences” to the family, while Prime Minister Theresa May said she was “deeply saddened” by his death.
A GOSH spokeswoman said: “Everyone at Great Ormond Street Hospital sends their heartfelt condolences to Charlie’s parents and loved ones at this very sad time.”
Mrs May said in a statement: “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.”
Ms Yates and Mr Gard wanted to take their severely ill son to the US for treatment.
His plight saw hundreds of supporters – called Charlie’s Army – lending their voices and money for him to be given treatment, with £1.35 million raised on an online fundraising site.
On Thursday Ms Yates claimed the couple were “denied” their “final wish” when a High Court judge approved a plan to see Charlie moved to a hospice and have his life support withdrawn soon after.
His parents had pleaded to be allowed more time with him, after their earlier request to take him home to die also failed.
Charlie, who was born on August 4 last year, had a form of mitochondrial disease, a condition that causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.
Described as “perfectly healthy” when he was born, Charlie was admitted to hospital at eight weeks and his condition progressively deteriorated.
Mr Gard gave an emotional speech on the steps of the High Court when he said: “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.
“We had the chance but we weren’t allowed to give you that chance. Sweet dreams baby. Sleep tight our beautiful little boy.”
At the time Charlie’s parents added they believed their son might have been saved if experimental therapy had been tried sooner.
Ms Yates said time had been “wasted”, adding “had Charlie been given the treatment sooner he would have had had the potential to be a normal, healthy little boy.”
Doctors at GOSH did not agree, with lawyers representing the hospital saying the “clinical picture” six months ago had shown irreversible damage to Charlie’s brain.
They said the “unstoppable effects” of Charlie’s rare illness had become plainer as weeks passed.