Heartbreak as terminally ill toddler who delivered his parents' wedding rings in his toy car loses battle with leukaemia
Charlie Harris-Beard had battled leukaemia since April 2011His parents brought forward their wedding when he was given weeks to liveWas his father's best man and drove rings down the aisle in his toy carLast ditch attempt to save him using experimental drugs failed last yearToday after he died his parents said 'heaven had gained another angel'
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Courage: Charlie drove the rings down the ailse
Today, his older sister Ellie Louise, 12, told his 45,000 Facebook fans around the world he had finally lost his battle at 2.04pm, surrounded by family and friends.
In a heartbreaking Facebook tribute she said: 'Hello everyone, it's Charlie's big sister Ellie Louise.
'Minutes ago I had to sit with my mom, dad, family and Charlie, to say goodbye as the angels came down. Thank you everyone, (your) thoughts and prayers meant a lot.'
A message on the family Twitter page added: 'Heaven gained another angel today as our little soldier Charles Joseph Harris-Beard peacefully passed away.'
Today Charlie's mother Fiona said she was too devastated to talk about the passing. She said: 'Everything is just so raw at the moment.'
charlie returned home from hospital in
January last year following a successful bone marrow transplant using
stem cells from an American baby's umbilical cord.
But in November last year his parents Fiona, 31, Joe, 31, decided to
bring their wedding forward so that their beloved Charlie could play a
leading role as his dad's best man.
Charlie, wearing a smart black wedding suit, brought a tear to the eyes
of the 300-strong congregation as he delivered the rings to his parents
in his favourite remote-controlled car.
After the service at St Mary's Church in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, he smiled for pictures with his proud family.
His plight captured the hearts of the nation and his favourite football
team Aston Villa even invited him and his family onto the pitch before a
match to meet his idols.
Pictures of the plucky youngster driving the wedding rings down the aisle in his favourite toy car made headlines around the world.
Football mad: Aston Villa fan Charlie with (from left) big sister Ellie-Louise, mother Fiona and his grandfather
In a final attempt to save his life, Charlie had started a trial of the drug Aurora Kinase in December.
The revolutionary drug, which is
administered over 72 hours every 21 days via intravenous infusion, is
intended to inhibit cancer growth by blocking the enzymes which cause
cancerous cells to grow.
But just weeks later, his parents announced the devastating news that the potentially lifesaving drug had failed to save him.
Side-by-side: Two-year-old Charlie was there for his father Joe as best man at his wedding throughout the day
Today, followers took to his Facebook page to pay tribute to Charlie.
Paula Gouldstone wrote: 'Rest In Peace Charlie, such a brave little boy.
My heart bleeds for all his family and friends. Cant imagine how they
are all coping right now, Such a shame. Sleep tight little angel xxxx'
Tanya Cunningham added: 'Night night Charlie Bear – you and your family
have touched the hearts of so many and you'll never be forgotten – Rest
In Peace little one xxxx'
Devastating: Charlie was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia on Easter Sunday 2011
Earlier today a picture had been posted showing a frail looking Charlie being cradled one last time by his big sister.
His heartbroken mother Fiona posted:
'Ellie loved her picture with Charlie yesterday [Thursday], she wanted
to show the whole world how much she loves him.
until Charlie is feeling stronger that will be his last picture, we
know it can be upsetting seeing someone so poorly and don't want to
offend anyone but it was important for Ellie to show you all how much
she loves her brother.'