Ty Campbell, the "little fighter" who captured hearts around the world as he battled cancer, died in his New York home Wednesday, just days after celebrating his fifth birthday.
For the last two years, Ty's small hometown of Pawling in Dutchess County has connected the world as his mother, Cindy, wrote about her son's fight with extrarenal rhabdoid tumor, a rare and aggressive cancer. Strangers took notice, and many responded with gifts and kind words.
"We read the comments to Ty because it makes him happy," Cindy Campbell told NBC 4 New York in an interview taped Tuesday.
Through more than 20 surgeries and 200 nights in the hospital, every breakthrough and every setback in Ty's journey has been posted.
"The blog has been, for me, very therapeutic," Cindy Campbell said.
Cindy Campbell's blog has also become therapeutic for others who have been inspired to give their own children more hugs, more time and more love.
"I get letters from people all the time that say they put the BlackBerry away and read the extra story," said Cindy Campbell. "It's awesome. It makes me so happy to know kids are having more fun because of Ty."
At around the same time Ty celebrated his fifth birthday on Oct. 4, the family was given devastating news: there were no more treatment options for the boy.
When NBC 4 New York taped the interview with Cindy Campbell on Tuesday for a story slated to air at a later time, Ty could not walk and he had a high fever. The crew did not want to disturb his rest and didn't end up speaking with him.
The next day, Wednesday, the 5-year-old known across the world as "Super Ty" died.
His parents are determined to keep his smile, his courage, his legacy alive by shining a light on childhood cancers and working for a cure through the Ty Louis Campbell Foundation.
Learn more about their foundation here.