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Stephen Sutton, a U.K. cancer patient stricken with bowel cancer, has died at age 19. Sutton inspired millions to donate to a teenage cancer fund and even drew the attention of U.K. celebrities like David Tennant, Pixie Lott and Russell Brand.
His mother, Jane Sutton, shared the sad news on his Facebook page on Wednesday. “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,” she wrote.
She added that the ongoing support will help the family, noting, “We all know he will never be forgotten, his spirit will live on, in all that he achieved and shared with so many.”
According to The Independent, Sutton shocked the web by raising over £3 million for the Teenage Cancer Trust after he posted an emotional video on the Facebook page. That far exceeded his £10,000 goal and donations continued to pour in after his death. Over £100,000 were donated at the Stephen's Just Giving page in the hours after his mother’s message was published.
— The Independent (@Independent) May 14, 2014
The news of his death saddened the millions who followed his story. Earlier this month, Stephens posted on Facebook that he was even feeling better, although he stressed that his cancer had not gone away.
“Ultimately, there is no miracle cure for me,” he wrote on May 8. “I am potentially the most positive and optimistic person in the world, but we have to be realistic with what we are up against. My disease is very advanced and will get me eventually, but I will try my damn hardest to be here as long as possible. I haven’t died yet, the journey continues, so I guess I’m needed a bit longer.”
CNN notes that he also used Facebook to share updates on his bucket list, which he created after his diagnosis in 2010. “Since starting the bucket list, I've had people come up to me and offer to raise funds for me,” he once wrote. “To go on holiday or tick off a new item on my bucket list. But I've actually refused. And decided to give the money to charity instead.”
Stephens’ journey caught the attention of U.K. celebrities, who urged their fans to donate. Even Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to him with a tweet.
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
Donations are still pouring in on the Just Giving page.
image via Twitter from The Independent