Thousands world over mourn as close family members announce the passing away of Dalton Dingus, the Kentucky boy who set a world record for the most Christmas cards.
The 9-year-old diagnosed with cystic fibrosis came to international attention with a campaign to set a Guinness World Record for the most Christmas cards ever received
The news of his death was released on Facebook.
WSAZ broke the news of his death @ 1/13/13, 12:40 a.m (local time).
According to MSN Now, with help from his Clarke County school and the Facebook page dedicated to the challenge, the news was passed around online about the boy and his desire to set a Guinness World Record. Thousands responded and cards and well wishes began pouring in from all over the world until by Christmas, he had received a staggering 700,000 cards, with about 50,000 cards on Christmas Eve alone.
WSAZ reports that his mother Jessica Dingus, said he received cards from "South Africa, Guatemala, Germany, Europe, everywhere. He's got one from almost every continent."
Many people cared enough to visit him at the hospital. His visitors included Santa Claus from the North Pole, with presents and cards. According to ABC News, he also received visits at his home in Salyersville from Miss Kentucky, who came with cards, a unit of Kentucky State Troopers and the star of Animal Planet's "Call of the Wildman."
Dalton's mom was overwhelmed by the show of support. She said she never expected such global response. "He's excited every morning when he gets up to see how much he's got, to see the presents he's got or how many cards he's got."
The family first set a modest goal of 10,000 cards, but soon, Dingus began receiving more than 20,000 cards a day.
The Huffiington Post reported that the Guinness World Records had said it was not monitoring the category in which Dingus was seeking to set a new world record. But according to Guinness spokeswoman Jamie Panas, a Christmas milestone was set 20 years ago by Jarrod Booth, a Canadian who received 205,120 cards.
Panas said: "[It's] not something we currently have a category for at the moment... Everyone at Guinness World Records applauds Dalton’s enthusiasm for record breaking and wish him the very best of luck in his endeavor!"
By December 26, Dingus had recived at least 504,269 Christmas cards. His mother told ABC: "He's excited for the first time in a long time. He's smiling more. He's laughing more, he's beginning to become how he was two years ago."
He also got a surprise from Magoffin County, Ky, postal workers who delivered a giant post card. According to WSAZ, the post card was 4 feet tall, 8 feet long and weighed 46 pounds.
Mark Wright with the Mt. Sterling Post Office, said: “Every once in a while we need to remember that we are kind, we are the human race, we are loving, and we provide the miracle we are the miracle and Dalton's going to live forever through us."
The postal workers said they paid $90 for the card's postage fee.
According to WSAZ, Dingus was admitted to hospital in October and from the start his doctors were not optimistic.
ABC News described his daily medication and care regimen: "Dalton takes 18 different medicines every day, 'lots of pills and antibiotics.' He goes through 12 liters of oxygen a day and wears a face mask to help him breathe, making him look like a miniature fighter pilot with an interest in coloring and playing with Lego blocks."
According to The Daily Mail, Dingus had stage four cystic fibrosis.