Alfie Evans, a terminally ill British toddler, has been a focus in the world’s news recently, and also drew attention from Pope Francis. Alfie’s parents, Kate James, 20, and Tom Evans, 21, announced Saturday morning that their son has died. They wrote on Facebook that they were “absolutely heartbroken” that they had lost their son.
Alfie was born in May 2016, but soon suffered a series of seizures and was admitted to a hospital in Liverpool where he has been since, according to the BBC. He developed an incurable degenerative brain condition that put him in the center of a legal battle over his treatment.
Doctors said further treatment was futile and recommended that Alfie be allowed to die, but his parents fought to take him to a hospital in Italy so that he could be kept on life support. The Pope backed this plan from the parents.
Moved by the prayers and immense solidarity shown little Alfie Evans, I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard and that their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) April 23, 2018
But after a series of court rulings where doctors testified that treatment was “not in Alfie’s best interests,” the hospital withdrew Alfie’s life support on Monday.
Justice Anthony Hayden, a U.K. judge, said the ruling represented “the final chapter in the life of this extraordinary boy.”
Under British law, courts often intervene when parents and doctors disagree over the treatment of a child, who’s rights often take precedent over the parent’s right to decide what’s best.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich took up support for Alfie’s parents as well, tweeting, “The British government’s decisions to allow two critically ill babies to die in two years is a natural reflection of the culture of death and the steady increase in totalitarian tendencies among Western governments.”
Gingrich was referring to the death Charlie Gard, who died in July 2017, in a similar case to Alfie’s.
Condolences have come from around the world to Alfie’s grieving parents.
RIP Alfie Evans. Heart breaking news to hear this morning, My thoughts & prayers are with his parents, they did everything they could for this little man 🙏🏽 God rest his soul 💙 pic.twitter.com/lmeKMsoXQr
— Frank Bruno MBE (@frankbrunoboxer) April 28, 2018
RIP Alfie Evans.
My deepest condolences to his parents, who fought so hard for their brave little boy. pic.twitter.com/pKfup3J7bX
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 28, 2018
Heaven has its newest angel. Alfie Evans
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) April 28, 2018