Ethan van Leuven, the four-year old Utah boy who captured the hearts of millions with his fight against acute lymphoblastic lukemia, has succumbed to his disease.
Ethan died shortly after West Jordan, the Salt Lake City suburb the van Leuvens call home, banded together to give the little guy two final holiday memories. Halloween came about ten days early in West Jordan, and Christmas Eve, complete with Santa Claus, came just days later.
Ethan’s father Merrill announced the news on Ethan’s fundraising Facebook page:
To all our dear friends, our little Ethan passed away [Tuesday] morning at 10:20 AM…Ethan is at peace now and will no longer battle with disease. He has passed his mortal test and will return to live with Heavenly Father for eternity.
His mother, Jen, expressed her gratitude for the community, along with the incredible attention her family and its story has received in national and international media:
We are so grateful for the blessing he has been to us in his short life, and the impact he was able to make on many people. … We are picturing Ethan happy and at peace. We are so grateful for the blessing of being a forever family, and look forward to the day when we can be with him again. Until then, rest in peace sweet Ethan.
Ethan was diagnosed with his disease at 22 months old. Recently, his doctor gave him no more than two weeks to live, and that diagnosis touched off a celebration of life in West Jordan. Also included in the festivities? Ethan’s birthday.
If you’d like to leave the family a message, you can do so at Ethan’s Facebook page.