He could walk into a room and lift people's spirits by just looking at them. He lit up the whole room; FAMILY DEVASTATED AS THEIR BRAVE BOY LOSES HIS BATTLE WITH CANCER.
Byline: MICHAEL MUNCASTER Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org @MichaelMjourno
THE family of a schoolboy with a "cheeky smile" has spoken of their heartbreak after he lost his battle with an aggressive cancer.
Nine-year-old Jac Sheldon died in the early hours of Wednesday morning at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, surrounded by his family.
Paying tribute to his nephew, Gary Briggs said the youngster fought bravely to the end and always had a smile on his face.
"I can't believe we won't see his little, cheeky face and big brown eyes come around the corner anymore," he said.
"He could walk into a room and he could lift people's spirits by just looking at them. He lit up the whole room.
"It's a bombshell to lose him just two weeks before Christmas. It is really cruel but there's a part of us too that didn't want to see him suffer anymore.
"He did not give up but I think it was his body telling him that enough was enough. We're so proud he kept fighting all the way."
Jac died just a week after he was crowned a Child of Courage Champion at the Chronicle Champions awards.
He was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2014 after he began to suffer lower back pain, a sore stomach and bruising.
He bravely beat the deadly disease twice but his family was left devastated after doctors discovered in April this year that it had returned.
Five months later Jac, of Westerhope, Newcastle, had a bone marrow transplant at Newcastle's Great North Children's Hospital.
He then spent around five weeks in a sterile 'bubble' at the Children's Bone Marrow Transplant Unit to protect him from bugs and bacteria while he recovered.
His parents, Mark and Nicola, had hoped that the operation could help their son live a normal, healthy life.
But their world came crashing down when medics said the transplant had failed and there was nothing else they could do.
Taxi driver Gary, 45, said: "On Tuesday night he was lethargic and tired, which was strange as a week ago he was full of beans.
"Early on Wednesday morning he was struggling to breathe so they took him to hospital, but there was nothing else they could do."
Above, Jac Sheldon, far left Jac's uncle Garry Briggs, auntie Donna Briggs and cousin Holly Briggs collect the Champion Child of courage award on his behalf, Jac in hospital and with his bravery award. Below, Jac with his family