Eli Thompson, the Alabama toddler who was born without a nose, died Saturday evening, according to his family.
Thousands of people followed Eli’s journey through his family’s posts on social media. LifeNews readers may remember that Facebook banned a photo of Eli soon after he was born in 2015, claiming his image “may shock or evoke a negative response from viewers.” An outcry from the public later prompted the social media site to lift the ban.
Deemed a “miracle baby,” Eli had a very rare condition called arhinia, in which the nose, nasal passages or sinuses do not develop. The Daily Mail reports Eli was born prematurely and had a tracheotomy when he was just five days old.
Reports do not indicate how Eli died, but his family said he passed away Saturday evening at a hospital in Mobile, Alabama. He turned 2 years old on March 4, according to local news reports.
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His father, Jeremy Finch, shared the news Sunday on Facebook:
We lost our little buddy last night. I’ll never be able to make sense of why this happened, and this will hurt deeply for a long time. But I’m so blessed to have had this beautiful boy in my life! He finished his race a lot earlier than we would have liked, but it was God’s time to bring him back home. I’ll forever look forward to seeing him at the gates of Heaven waiting on me to give me another one of his famous fist bumps! I love you little man. Rest in peace with my Father.
Finch said Eli was learning sign language, and his favorite sign was for cookies. Finch said Eli’s daycare recently gave him its “Cookie Monster Award.” He said Eli also loved giving people fist bumps.
“He touched a lot of people’s lives,” Finch told AL.com. “A lot of people cared about him.”
When he was born, his mother, Brandi McGlathery, told reporters that Eli was “perfect the way he is.”
“We’re going to do our best to make sure he’s happy. The rest of him is so cute, sometimes you don’t realize he doesn’t have a nose,” she said.