Charlie Gard, an 11-month-old British baby whose life became the centerpiece of media attention and debate over the sanctity of life, passed away Friday morning at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
"Eleven-month-old Charlie Gard, whose short life captured the hearts of the world, has died after suffering from a rare genetic condition which has seen him in hospital for the majority of his short life," the Daily Mail reported Friday.
The BBC reported a family spokesperson confirmed the news.
Charlie’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, had fought to take their son home to pass away peacefully, a request that was denied by the hospital after a months-long battle over the decision to end Charlie’s life.
Born with a rare degenerative disease that causes severe brain damage, little Charlie had been on a ventilator since October, though he remained awake and alert. Doctors advocated for removing the baby from life support and allowing him to pass away, saying that there was nothing else they could do to improve his condition.
The move lead to a drawn-out legal battle with Charlie’s parents, who wanted to bring their son to the United States to undergo an experimental treatment they hoped would save his life. Late last month, the European Court of Human Rights denied their request, siding with the hospital’s advice to remove Charlie from life support and sparking a worldwide debate over the value of human life and parental rights.
Earlier this week, as a judge was set to hear a new round of appeals based on evidence suggesting the experimental treatment may be a viable option for Charlie, Charlie's parents withdrew their request after new scans showed their son's brain damage had become too severe.