A little boy who captivated the country with his valiant battle against cancer has lost the fight of his life.
Jacob Thompson, 9, died Sunday after combating neuroblastoma for four years.
His family, after being told the boy would not make it to Dec. 25, celebrated Christmas in November, complete with a decorated tree in his hospital room in Bangor, Maine, and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.
His final wish was for holiday cards, and he received them by the thousands from strangers all over the world.
Jacob loved penguins and his parents urged mourners to make donations to Operation Gratitude, a penguin rescue group, "or pay it forward in your community."
"You brought Jacob joy, and you brought us all optimism for the future. Thank you for taking the time, and taking an interest in our sweet boy's journey. Sadly, there are many others like him that we hope you will continue to help," the family wrote Monday on Facebook.
“Each and every person who sent Jacob a Christmas card, a gift, a Facebook message or video, or a prayer made a difference in the final days of his life."
The child is survived by his parents, Michelle Thompson Simard and Roger Guay, and his dog, Piper.
He was admitted to the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital in October. His neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer affecting the nervous system, had spread to his brain, leaving him in extreme pain and unable to walk or move around.
“He is terminal and we were told about a month ago to stop making plans because of the situation he’s in,” his dad told InsideEdition.com earlier this month. “He’s in so much pain and nothing’s really helping him.”
He managed to smile and read some of his Christmas cards after Santa's visit last week.
"We hope that Jacob’s story and the enormous outpouring of support from around the world will have a lasting impact on raising awareness for this disease," his family posted.