CBC News – Charlie Gard, British baby who was focus of legal health battle, has died – World

Critically ill baby Charlie Gard, whose medical and legal story in Britain sparked compassion and controversy around the world, has died.

The Daily Mail first reported the death, citing the boy’s mother, Connie Yates.

The child, who had a rare genetic disease called mitochondrial depletion syndrome, died just days shy of his first birthday. Charlie required a ventilator to breathe and was unable to see, hear or swallow.

His parents, Yates and Chris Gard, raised more than £1.3 million ($2.1 million Cdn) to take him to the United States for experimental therapy they believed could prolong his life. But Charlie’s doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London objected, saying the treatment wouldn’t help and might cause him to suffer. The dispute ended up in court.

“Our beautiful little boy has gone, we are so proud of you Charlie,” Yates was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

The case became a flashpoint for debates on health-care funding, medical intervention, the role of the state and the rights of children.

The case made it all the way to Britain’s Supreme Court as Charlie’s parents refused to accept decisions by a series of judges who backed Great Ormond Street. But the Supreme Court agreed with the lower courts, saying it was in Charlie’s best interests that he be allowed to die.

Britain Sick Baby

Chris Gard, left, and Connie Yates, the boy’s parents, read a statement praising their son on July 24, the day they announced they were ending their bid for experimental treatment. (Matt Dunham/Associated Press)

The case caught the attention of Donald Trump and Pope Francis after the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene. The two leaders sent tweets of support for Charlie and his parents, triggering a surge of grassroots action, including a number of U.S. right-to-life activists who flew to London to support Charlie’s parents.

His parents gave up their fight earlier this week after scans showed that Charlie’s muscles had deteriorated so much that the damage was irreversible.

The final battle between the two sides concerned where Charlie would spend his last hours.

A judge ruled Thursday that Charlie should be transferred to a hospice and taken off life support after his parents and the hospital that had been treating him failed to agree on an end-of-life plan, but it was not immediately clear if the child died in hospice.

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