By Martin Robinson and Rachael Burford for Mailonline

Eleven-month-old Charlie Gard, whose short life captured the hearts of the world, has died a week before his first birthday.

Charlie suffered from a rare genetic condition which saw him in hospital for the majority of his short life.

His parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, fought a lengthy and emotional legal battle to take their severely ill baby son to the US for treatment, but were denied by judges.

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Charlie's mother, Connie, said tonight: "Our beautiful little boy has gone, we are so proud of you Charlie."

Yesterday courts denied his parents the chance to bring their son home to die and he was taken to a hospice. Charlie's plight has seen hundreds of supporters - called Charlie's Army - lending their voices and money to see the child given treatment, with £1.35 million raised on an online fund-raising site.

Charlie was moved to a hospice where his life support was turned off. Photo / Facebook
Charlie was moved to a hospice where his life support was turned off. Photo / Facebook

Pope Francis and US president Donald Trump weighed into the debate, with the Vatican saying the pontiff prayed for "their wish to accompany and treat their child until the end is not neglected".

The protracted legal battle saw the couple take their case to the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court - all of which ruled life support treatment should end and Charlie should be allowed to die with dignity.

Judges at the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene in the case - and the couple said they had been denied their final wish to be able to take their son home to die and felt "let down" following the lengthy legal battle.

The couple, of Bedfont, west London, ended their legal battle on July 24, in what they called the "most painful of decisions" and their son was moved to a hospice on July 27.

Mr Gard gave an emotional speech on the steps of the High Court when he said: "Mummy and Daddy love you so much Charlie, we always have and we always will and we are so sorry that we couldn't save you.

The boy's parents fought a lengthy court battle until his final days. Photo / Getty
The boy's parents fought a lengthy court battle until his final days. Photo / Getty

"We had the chance but we weren't allowed to give you that chance. Sweet dreams baby. Sleep tight our beautiful little boy."

Charlie, who was born on August 4 last year, has a form of mitochondrial disease, a condition that causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.

Described as "perfectly healthy" when he was born, Charlie was admitted to hospital at eight weeks and his condition has progressively deteriorated.

At the time Charlie's parents said they believed their son might have been saved if experimental therapy had been tried sooner.

Ms Yates said time was "wasted", adding "had Charlie been given the treatment sooner he would have had the potential to be a normal, healthy little boy."

Doctors at GOSH did not agree, with lawyers representing the hospital saying the "clinical picture" six months ago had shown irreversible damage to Charlie's brain.

They said the "unstoppable effects" of Charlie's rare illness had become plainer as weeks passed.

Following news of Charlie's death, US Vice President Mike Pence tweeted: "Saddened to hear of the passing of Charlie Gard. Karen & I offer our prayers & condolences to his loving parents during this difficult time."

The couple said they wanted to take their son across the Atlantic for nucleoside bypass therapy, but specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, said the treatment was experimental and would not help.

The couple paid tribute to their "absolute warrior" less than a fortnight before his first birthday on the steps of the High Court, with father Chris saying: 'Mummy and Daddy love you so much Charlie, we always have and we always will and we are so sorry that we couldn't save you.

"We had the chance but we weren't allowed to give you that chance. Sweet dreams baby. Sleep tight our beautiful little boy."

Charlie's parents added they believed their son might have been saved if experimental therapy had been tried sooner.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street did not agree, with lawyers representing the hospital saying the "clinical picture" six months ago had shown irreversible damage to Charlie's brain.

Connie and Chris had asked for up to a week with their son before letting him "slip away" before his first birthday next Friday.

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) said last night "we have tried absolutely everything" to accommodate the parents' but will not risk an "unplanned and chaotic end to Charlie's life".

His mother Connie has hit back and insisted doctors "denied us our final wish".

She said: "We just want some peace with our son, no hospital, no lawyers, no courts, no media - just quality time with Charlie away from everything to say goodbye to him in the most loving way.

"Most people won't ever have to go through what we have been through, we've had no control over our son's life and no control over our son's death.

"I'm shocked that after all we've been through, they won't allow us this extra time."

On Wednesday Mr Justice Francis sided with his doctors and said Charlie would be taken to the hospice in a secret location where doctors will stop life-support treatment shortly after he arrives because they say extending his life will only cause him more pain.

The irrevocable court ruling came as home videos emerged showing Charlie as a newborn - weeks before his illness was diagnosed. The tiny baby is seen grasping at a two-week birthday card on a changing mat at his parents' flat in west London, last August.

Charlie's move to the hospice was kept secret until today.

GOSH has said it had "tried absolutely everything" to accommodate the couple's wishes, but "the risk of an unplanned and chaotic end to Charlie's life is an unthinkable outcome for all concerned and would rob his parents of precious last moments with him".

The statement concluded: "Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to Chris and Connie, and we hope that their privacy is respected at this devastating time for their family."

Mr Justice Francis drew five months of litigation to a close by making the order, which saw Charlie leave the London hospital where he has been cared for since late 2016, and move to a hospice.

The hospital statement added: "We deeply regret that profound and heartfelt differences between Charlie's doctors and his parents have had to be played out in court over such a protracted period.

The statement said it had been a "distressing process for all concerned", adding that nobody could fault Charlie's parents for tirelessly advocating "for what they sincerely believed was right for their son".