Alfie Evans, the 23-month-old child with a degenerative brain disease who became the centre of a legal battle, died on Saturday.
His parents, Kate James and Thomas Evans, announced the news in a Facebook post that said: “Our baby boy grew his wings tonight at 2:30 a.m. We are heart broken. Thank you everyone for all your support.”
He died at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, despite his parents’ hope that he might be well enough to be transferred to his home. Doctors at the hospital were granted permission to turn off his life support last Monday, after a final High Court appeal, having concluded that his condition — an unidentified degenerative neurological disorder — was untreatable. Prolonging his life would be “unkind and inhumane”, they argued.
Alfie’s parents repeatedly appealed against rulings given in favour of the doctors, and took the case to the Supreme Court, with the help of the Christian Legal Centre, which is connected to the conservative Evangelical lobby group Christian Concern.
They had argued that Alfie should be transferred to the Bambino Gesu Hospital, in Rome, which is linked to the Vatican, to explore new treatment options.
The leadership of Alder Hey Hospital said that they had been shocked by abuse levelled at staff, which led to a large police presence at the site.
But by Thursday of last week, Alfie’s parents appeared to have accepted the medical advice from Alder Hey, and asked their supporters to stand down.
On Saturday, supporters released blue and purple balloons in Springfield Park, next to Alder Hey Hospital, and sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.