An 8-year-old Pennsylvania girl who inspired thousands in her community to sing Christmas carols outside her door died of leukemia on Wednesday, the Reading Eagle reported.
The family of Delaney Brown released a statement confirming her death, four days after an estimated 10,000 people converged outside her home to fulfill her wish of hearing Christmas carols, part of an Internet-fueled campaign that earned her and her family support.
“We are eternally grateful for all of the love kindness, prayers and support that we have received from people across the world,” her family said in a statement. “You will never know how meaningful it was for all of you to rally around Laney.”
Brown was diagnosed with a rare form of the disease in May 2013, and her condition worsened over the past week, despite having undergone five rounds of radiation therapy and stem cell therapy.
The community carol was held outside her West Reading home on Dec. 21, a day after her birthday. Brown’s condition left her unable to come to the window to watch the event, but she posted, “I can hear you now!!! Love you!” in acknowledgement of the support.
On Friday, Brown got to talk to her favorite singer, Taylor Swift, via the video chat program Facetime. The online meeting was arranged by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Comedian Joan Rivers also sent Brown a message of encouragement through Twitter that day.
WFMZ-TV reported that Facebook page dedicated to Brown’s fight against the disease has amassed more than 117,000 fans, and online donations have also more than covered the cost of her medical expenses.
“Our sincerest thanks for all that each of you have done,” the statement from Brown’s family read. “Your prayers and well wishes gave both Laney and us great comfort as we made our way through this very difficult time. We know Laney is in heaven and watching over all of us.”
Watch a report on the community Christmas carols for Delaney Brown, as posted by the Eagle on Saturday, below.
[Image via Delaney Brown community Facebook page]
Update: The story has been updated with a correct photo.