TORONTO – A British teen who raised over $5.86 million (CDN) for charity and inspired people around the world has passed away, his family has announced.
At the age of 15, Stephen Sutton was diagnosed with bowel cancer and was told two years later by his doctors that his cancer was incurable.
A Facebook post written by the 19-year-old’s mother said Sutton passed away peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday morning.
“My heart is bursting with pride but breaking with pain for my courageous, selfless, inspirational son who passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of this morning,” read the Facebook post.
“The ongoing support and outpouring of love for Stephen will help greatly at this difficult time, in the same way as it helped Stephen throughout his journey. We all know he will never be forgotten, his spirit will live on, in all that he achieved and shared with so many.”
Stephen’s last personal post on May 11 said he was back in the hospital after he had some difficulties breathing. Two days later, a post from a family friend said Stephen’s condition had deteriorated “to where he can no longer communicate through this page himself.”
VIDEO: Steven Sutton’s dying wish raises millions for cancer charity (April 24)
“Unfortunately the breathlessness which had him re-admitted to hospital is due to the regrowth of tumours which are blocking his airways, and not just due to infection as we had all been hoping,” said the post. “We appreciate everyone’s concern, and for all the love and goodwill sent his way, and indeed ours too, we thank you deeply.”
In Jan. 2013, Sutton learned that his cancer was inoperable and had spread to his bowel, knee, groin and pelvis. Upon learning his fate, the young man made a list of 46 things he wanted accomplish before he died. One of those goals included raising 10,000 pounds (CDN $18,500) for U.K.’s Teenage Cancer Trust.
Several prominent figures turned to Twitter Wednesday to share their condolences, including Prime Minister David Cameron and comedian Ricky Gervais.
I’m deeply saddened to hear that Stephen Sutton has died. His spirit, bravery and fundraising for cancer research were all an inspiration.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) May 14, 2014
RIP Stephen Sutton. A true hero & inspiration to us all. #stephensstory
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) May 14, 2014
A petition calling for Sutton to be knighted also received more than 35,000 signatures.
– with files from Nick Logan, Global News
© Shaw Media, 2014