Alfie Evans, the British toddler whose health care was at the center of an international legal battle, died early Saturday, five days after he was removed from life support. He was 23 months old.
Evans suffered from a rare degenerative brain condition which put him in a semi-vegetative state for over a year. His parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, sought to maintain his care, but his doctors said it would be "unkind and inhumane" to do so given his terminal diagnosis.
Backed by advocacy from Pope Francis and other prominent figures, the boy's parents sought to move him to Italy, which granted him citizenship and proffered a military jet to transfer him for care in an Italian hospital. British courts denied the request and prohibited further treatment. U.K. courts and the National Health Service have come under broad critique for the decision.
"My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings at 02:30 ... absolutely heartbroken," Tom Evans wrote in a Facebook post announcing Alfie's death. James posted that she too is heartbroken, adding, "thank you everyone for all your support."
Read The Week's Matthew Walther on Alfie's saga here.