A toddler whose spirit captured hearts around the world after he was born without a nose has sadly died at just two years old.
Eli Thompson was a premature baby born without nasal passages or sinus cavities, the result of a rare condition called arhinia which only affects one in 197 million births.
Sadly, on Saturday 3rd June, Jeremy Finch, announced his son Eli had passed away at Springhill Medical Centre, Mobile, Alabama, AL.com reports.
The little boy – who had to have a tracheotomy to provide breathing support at just five days old – had only celebrated his second birthday on March 4th, but tragically, three months later, he was pronounced dead.
Tiny Eli became known as the ‘miracle’ baby and had huge amounts of love and support showered on him, as people across the globe heard about his unusual condition.
His dad described him as ‘very, very bright and happy, always smiling and giving everybody fist bumps’.
He touched a lot of people’s lives.
A lot of people cared about him.
His dad explained how his son used baby sign language to communicate and revealed his favourite sign had been ‘cookie’. He’d cheekily use it every morning to ask for his favourite treat.
The little guy even won the seemingly appropriately titled ‘Cookie Monster Award’ from his daycare centre.
His dad wrote a passage to Facebook to announce his death:
We lost our little buddy last night. I’ll never be able to make sense of why this happened, and this will hurt deeply for a long time. But I’m so blessed to have had this beautiful boy in my life!
He finished his race a lot earlier than we would have liked, but it was God’s time to bring him back home. I’ll forever look forward to seeing him at the gates of Heaven waiting on me to give me another one of his famous fist bumps!
I love you little man. Rest in peace with my Father.
Before he died, Eli met two-and-a-half year old Tessa Evans, who was also born with arhinia.
Her mum said:
To get to introduce Tessa to Eli was like a dream come true and it meant the world to us to sit and talk with his family.
Tessa was totally taken with Eli and hugged him and stroked his head. Watching Eli gaze up at her was too precious for words.
Eli’s funeral will take place at the Fountain of Life Church.
Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.