An Eastern Kentucky boy whose battle with cystic fibrosis gained worldwide attention and led to the delivery of hundreds of thousands of Christmas cards died Saturday.
Dalton Dingus, 9, of White Oak died at Bluegrass Hospice Center in Hazard, according to an obituary posted on the website of Magoffin County Funeral Home, which is handling arrangements.
Dalton was in stage 4 of cystic fibrosis when a neighbor posted a request on Facebook to send him Christmas cards as a show of support and love. The request snowballed through social media, and soon Dalton was receiving tens of thousands of cards daily from all 50 states and every continent except Antarctica, his family told the Herald-Leader last month.
He had received about 800,000 cards at the time of his death, said Johnnie Reed, his grandfather.
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Reed said the family would try to have Dalton listed as the Guinness World Records holder for the most Christmas cards received.
Guinness had expressed interest in Dalton's story. The world-record tracker does not currently track Christmas cards. The last time it did, in 1992, the record holder was Jarrod Booth of British Columbia, Canada, who had a collection of 205,120 in February 1990.
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. Dalton's doctors gave him two years to live when he was diagnosed at age 4, his mother, Jessica Reed Dingus, told the Herald-Leader.
He died two months and one day shy of his 10th birthday.
As news of Dalton's death spread across Facebook and Twitter on Sunday, many posted rest-in-peace messages.
Photos and messages on Facebook contained the caption "Breathe Easy, Dalton." The boy usually wore an oxygen mask to help with breathing difficulties caused by his illness.
Dalton is survived by his parents, Tommy Dingus and Jessica Reed Dingus; his maternal grandparents, Johnnie and Gay Allen Reed of Salyersville; and his paternal grandparents, Edison and Theresa Allen Dingus of Sal yersville.
Visitation will be at 6 p.m. Monday and all day Tuesday at Magoffin County Funeral Home in Salyersville.
Services will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.