Terminally ill British toddler Alfie Evans died Saturday after a protracted legal fight waged by his parents to determine whether their child should remain on life support.
Doctors took the 23-month-old off life support systems against his parents' wishes, saying more treatment was futile. Alfie suffered from a condition that caused irreversible brain damage.
The parents tried for months to convince the courts to allow them to relocate Alfie to the Vatican's children's hospital so he could remain on life support. But after a series of court rulings that blocked more medical treatment, doctors at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool removed him from life support on Monday.
The efforts of parents Kate James and Tom Evans were supported by Pope Frances and other Christian groups, which helped bring international attention to the case.
"My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings at 02:30, absolutely heartbroken," Evans wrote on Facebook.
The case rekindled intense global debate over whether parents, doctors or the courts have the right to decide the fate of a child's life.
The hospital said, "All of us feel deeply for Alfie, Kate, Tom and his whole family and our thoughts are with them."