Abdullah Hassan, a 2-year-old boy who was battling a rare genetic brain condition, has died. His mother, Shaima Swileh, had just been granted a visa so she could visit him in a California hospital.
Silweh’s husband, Ali Hassan, and son are both a U.S. citizens. Ali flew their son to the hospital on Oct. 1 so he could receive treatment, while Swileh, who lives in Egypt, stayed behind. She made headlines after she was initially denied a special visa to so she could see her son.
Hassan passed away on Friday at the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland, California.
"We are heartbroken. We had to say goodbye to our baby, the light of our lives. We want to thank everyone for your love and support at this difficult time. We ask you to kindly keep Abdullah and our family in your thoughts and prayers,” Hassan said in a statement to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Swileh fled her native Yemen, which is in the middle of a bloody civil war. Though her home is now in Egypt, she was banned from entering the U.S. because of President Trump's travel ban prohibiting visitors several Muslim-majority countries, including Yemen.
After their son was diagnosed with the rare disorder, Swileh sought a waiver from the ban to visit him.
On Dec. 16, Silweh sued the U.S. State Department for a special visa that would allow her to be with Hassan.
It was granted nearly two weeks ago, according to CAIR, the nonpartisan advocacy group that first drew attention to the family's plight. By Dec. 19, she was by her son’s side in California.
Abdullah's funeral was held Saturday.