Inspirational teen who raised $7m for cancer dies at 19

PHOTO: Inspirational teen who raised $7m for cancer dies at 19

The courageous British teen who raised more than £3.3m (S$6,937,368) for cancer has passed away peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday morning, UK media reported.

His mother wrote on Facebook: "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, Wednesday 14th May.

"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."

The boy from Staffordshire, England touched millions and inspired people from all over the world to give when he posted his heartbreaking message asking for donations for a cancer trust.

"It's a final thumbs up from me," he had written accompanied by a selfie of him lying in a sickbed, covered in drips, smiling cheerfully with his thumbs in the air. "I've done well to blag things as well as I have up till now, but unfortunately I think this is just one hurdle too far."

He thought those would be his last words, but amazingly, he pulled through. He said he had bounced back from a collapsed lung, writing: "In all honesty I was probably not too far from nearly leaving you all."

He posted updates about making a temporary recovery after he had "coughed up" a tumour. 

He said a doctor who saw him said his medical notes and the his actual condition don't quite "seem to match up".

Mr Sutton was diagnosed with bowel cancer when he was 15.

After he realised he did not have long to live, he set himself a "bucket list" of 46 challenges to tick off in his final days, including a charity skydive, quizzes, a football match and playing the drums in front of a huge crowd.

He managed to tick off more than 30 challenges, one of which was to raise £10,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

But after his Facebook post went viral, his plight so captured the hearts of those who followed his Facebook, Twitter and other Internet updates that he used the growing goodwill to continue fund raising.

At the time of his death, he had raised more than £3 million, the Guardian UK reported.

The Facebook post announcing Stephen's death was shared more than 120,000 times within an hour of its publication, BBC news reported.

Those who paid tribute to the teenager included the likes of British Prime Minister David Cameron, who was quoted by TheAustralian.com.au as saying that Mr Sutton was "absolutely inspiring" and that meeting him was a "huge privilege". 

Comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted: "RIP Stephen Sutton. A true hero & inspiration to us all."

Mr Sutton's ambition was to become a doctor.

yamadak@sph.com.sg

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