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9-year-old who wanted cards for 'last Christmas' succumbs to cancer

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The family of 9-year-old Jacob Thompson, the little boy who captured the nation's heart when he asked for Christmas cards early, says he has passed away.

Jacob's family says he passed away peacefully Sunday following his 4-year battle with neuroblastoma.

His family decided to celebrate Christmas early and word spread that Jacob's wish was to receive Christmas cards from all over the world.

His story went viral and cards and gifts poured in from complete strangers, to celebrities.

Let's make Jacob's early Christmas as big as he deserves. Here's the card I drew for him. I'm counting on you guys! https://t.co/aVNp0H7efG pic.twitter.com/4SeksvtvyM

-- Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) November 3, 2017

Jacob loved penguins, and the Mystic Aquarium sent up a pair to visit with him.

Police officers from around New England gathered for a parade in front of his hospital room.

It made his final days very special for his family.

On their Facebook page, Jacob Thompson's Journey, the family said: "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. 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. We owe a deep gratitude to the people and organizations who have helped us along the way, including the staff at the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute."

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