'Deeply moved': Tributes pour in for British toddler Alfie Evans

Alfie evans

GETTYAlfie's parents hope their tot will finally come home

The terminally ill 23-month-old British toddler at the center of a legal battle died on Saturday.

Alfie, who was admitted to Alder Hey Hospital in December 2016, was diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease associated with severe epilepsy and had been in a semivegetative state for more than a year. "We are heart broken", his mother, Kate James, posted on Facebook. Doctors overseeing his care in Liverpool, England said further treatment was futile and he should be allowed to die.

Alfie's life support at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool was removed on Monday following a High Court ruling which denied his parents' application to take him overseas for treatment.

In a 2018 ruling, one judge wrote that the Evans family's Catholic faith should be as a factor in determining the child's best interests, quoting Pope Francis distinguishing euthanasia from the discontinuance of overzealous care, which the pope has said "can be legitimate", the Wall Street Journal reported. "Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace", the Pope sent out via Twitter.

After accepting that their options had been exhausted, Alfie's parents sought to build bridges with medical staff and pledged to work alongside doctors to give him "the dignity and comfort" he needed.

The death came after an easing of tensions between the family and the hospital. "Thankyou everyone for all your support", Thomas Evans and Kate James said.

He thanked the hospital staff "for their dignity and professionalism during what must be an incredibly hard time for them too".

Following numerous court decisions, doctors decided this week to withdraw medical intervention.

The case stirred strong feelings over whether judges, doctors or parents have the right to decide on a child's life.

A statement from Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, where Alfie was treated, said staff expressed their "heartfelt sympathy", reports the BBC.

Lord Sugar tweeted: 'RIP Alfie Evans.

"We also wish to thank Alder Hey staff at every level for their dignity and professionalism during what must be an incredibly hard time for them, too".

March 1: Three Court of Appeal judges begin analysing the case after Alfie's parents mount a challenge to the High Court ruling. A leading right-wing politician in Italy, Veneto Gov. Luca Zaia, said that in Alfie, the "so-called civilised world has supplied the latest proof of enormous incivility".

Supporters of the parents staged angry protests regularly outside the hospital, at times trying to storm its entrance. "Thank you everyone for all your support", she wrote.

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