The mother of a teenager who raised more than £3m (NZ$5.8 million) for a cancer charity after being diagnosed with the disease, has paid tribute to a "courageous, selfless, inspirational son".
Stephen Sutton, 19, died, four years after he was first diagnosed with bowel cancer.
His mother, Jane Sutton, released a statement on the Stephen's Story Facebook page confirming his death.
"My heart is bursting with pride but breaking with pain for my courageous, selfless, inspirational son who passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of this morning," she wrote.
"The ongoing support and outpouring of love for Stephen will help greatly at this difficult time, in the same way as it helped Stephen throughout his journey. We all know he will never be forgotten, his spirit will live on, in all that he achieved and shared with so many."
In the hours following the announcement, donations for The Teenage Cancer Trust on Stephen's Just Giving page surged by more than £100,000 (NZ$193,000).
Stephen made headlines for raising over £3million (NZ$5.8 million) for charity after he posted an emotional farewell message to the followers of his Stephen's Story Facebook page. He had initially set out to raise just £10,000 (NZ$19300).
Soon, celebrities including Benedict Cumberbatch, Jason Manford, Simon Pegg and Russell Brand took to social media and encouraged others to give money to the cause.
Since then, more than 135,000 people from around the world have donated to his Just Giving page, with donations continuing to pour in after his death was announced.
Tributes for the teenager have been flooding in on Twitter, with many paying homage to his "spirit" and "bravery".
So very sad to hear that Stephen Sutton has passed away. He was a very brave person and an inspiration to millions. Rest in peace.— Simon Cowell (@SimonCowell) May 14, 2014
RIP Stephen Sutton. A true hero & inspiration to us all. #stephensstory— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) May 14, 2014
I'm deeply saddened to hear that Stephen Sutton has died. His spirit, bravery and fundraising for cancer research were all an inspiration.— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) May 14, 2014
Stephen was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 15. In 2012 he was told his condition was incurable and in April this year he filmed a moving final farewell, believing he was about to die.
A month later, Sutton experienced what he described 'a miraculous recovery' after coughing up a tumour. Following successful surgery, he was well enough to be discharged from Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital on May 2.
But he was readmitted on Sunday, with his family confirming that his condition had deteriorated "due to a re-growth of tumours".
Photo / Facebook
In a lengthy post on his Facebook page Stephen's Story, on May 8, Sutton said: "I was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in September 2010. I then have had periods of remission and relapse, before doctors eventually described my disease as incurable in November 2012. Throughout this time I have underwent all manner of treatments (surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, etc) that have helped treat and prolong my life.
"I actually I see myself as very fortunate- despite being incurable for a while I have had a sustained period of very good health where I was able to go out and enjoy things thoroughly...
"Ultimately, there is no miracle cure for me. I am potentially the most positive and optimistic person in the world, but we have to be realistic with what we are up against. My disease is very advanced and will get me eventually, but I will try my damn hardest to be here as long as possible."
In a statement after news of Stephen's death was announced, the Teenage Cancer Trust said: "We are humbled and hugely grateful for what Stephen achieved and continues to achieve for us.
"The thoughts of everyone here at Teenage Cancer Trust are with Stephen's family and friends."
The Teenage Cancer Trust will share details of a legacy plan for Stephen Sutton in the coming weeks.
If you want to donate to Stephen's Story, go to his Just Giving page.
- UK Independent