OSCAR Hughes has died peacefully in his parents' arms, just ten days after a relapse in his recovery from a brain tumour sparked a massive fundraising campaign.
The nine-year-old's parents Ian and Marie said their 'beautiful son' passed away at his home in Dunnington, York, “close to his devoted brothers and family who loved him.”
They said: “He has known nothing but love and devotion and his gifts to us are plenty.
“Although difficult at the moment, our memories will be joyful and plentiful.”
The couple launched a campaign to raise £150,000 on April 23 after Oscar was suddenly taken ill with stroke-like symptoms and a scan revealed the presence of cancer cells in his brain and spine.
Doctors said there was no known cure but his parents wanted to fund a trip abroad to take part in promising research and clinical trials.
Thousands of people and organisations – from Dunnington residents to Manchester United FC - threw their support behind the drive.
But late last week experts told the family that nothing more could be done to save Oscar's life because of the aggressiveness of the relapse, and the Hughes' decided any money not used for him should be re-directed to charities to help other children in similar situations.
By last night, the appeal had raised almost £60,000, with recent donations including £40 from a lemonade stall run by Ruby and Spencer, £176 raised by Mollie and her friends from selling cakes and £353 from people at Dunnington Reading Rooms.
More money was set to be raised by an auction last night at David Lloyd health and fitness club in Hull Road, of which Oscar was a keen member.
The sports-mad youngster was also a keen fan of Manchester United, and walked out on to the pitch as a mascot last autumn, and last week the club asked 70 millions fans via Facebook and Twitter to back the appeal.
The Hughes have revealed that the club subsequently sent Oscar a first team signed shirt and boots signed by goalkeeper David de Gea.
They said fans of other clubs, especially Liverpool, Manchester City and Leeds United, had also tweeted their 'heartwarming' support for the appeal.
Oscar, a keen tennis and football player, originally fell ill with a brain tumour in February last year. He underwent an 11-hour operation to remove the tumour, and then embarked on a series of courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
He also launched a fundraising drive for the children's cancer charity Yorkshire Candlelighters, selling balloons at Dunnington fair and organising and taking part in a marathon for all pupils and staff at his school, Dunnington Primary.
He raised a total of £6,500 for the charity and was named a Child of the Year at the York Community Pride awards last autumn.