The heartbroken parents of toddler Alfie Evans have paid tribute to their little 'gladiator' after he passed away in the early hours of this morning.
The 23-month-old, who had been at the centre of a legal battle over his treatment which touched the hearts of people around the world, died at 2.30am today.
His parents Kate James and Thomas Evans wrote on Facebook: "Our baby boy grew his wings tonight at 2.30 am. We are heart broken. Thank you everyone for all your support."
Mr Evans posted: "My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings at 2.30am. Absolutely heartbroken. I LOVE YOU MY GUY."
Alfie had a degenerative neurological condition and had been in a semi-vegetative state for more than a year.
Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, where he was being treated, took the decision to switch off his life support, saying that further treatment would be not only 'futile' but also 'unkind and inhumane'.
His parents battled to overturn the decision in the courts but were ultimately unsuccessful, and Alfie was taken off life support on Monday.
They also failed in a last-ditch attempt to get him flown to a hospital in Rome, which has links to the Vatican, in the hope of prolonging his life.