Baby Isaiah, the 4-month-old boy at the center of a controversial life-support case in Canada, died from natural causes, Thursday.
Isaiah James May passed away in his parents' arms, just hours after they made the decision to postpone an upcoming court hearing and remove their son from his ventilator.
"We very much believe that life is a gift from God and that our son's inherent value and worth as a human being is not diminished by the number of days recorded in this world," Isaac and Rebecka May said in a statement. "Isaiah has reminded all of us once again that life is very precious and fragile."
Read the entire statement from Isaac and Rebecka May about their son's death below.
The Mays had fought to prolong their son's life since he was born October 24, 2009 with severe brain damage. Their cause eventually lead to a long battle over healthcare rationing in Canada.
Isaiah was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, causing the severe brain damage. Doctors said he would never recover and wanted to remove the baby's ventilator, but his parents said they saw signs of recovery in Isaiah.
A judge granted the parents more time, however, an independent neonatologist recently advised the family that he too believed Isaiah would not recover.
"When I examined Isaiah, I confirmed that he did have movements of his trunk and limbs, as witnessed by his parents," Dr. Richard Taylor said in a statement following the boy's death. "He had gained weight since his birth and had bodily functions as they had reported. He was not in any distress."
"But on testing the nerves entering and leaving his brain, I confirmed that his reflexes were all completely absent," Taylor continued. "He was also unable to breathe for himself without airway and ventilator support."
Isaiah's parents say he was a blessing and that his spirit will always be in their hearts. They also thanked those who had prayed and supported them throughout their ordeal.
"There are no words to express our deep appreciation to you," they wrote. "We have set our tiny miracle free and he is now home in the arms of angels."
Statement from Isaac and Rebecka May:
On October 24th, 2009, our beautiful son, Isaiah James May, arrived into the world and into our lives. As all parents, we had looked forward to this moment with great anticipation. And notwithstanding the events surrounding his birth, we held out hope that there would come a time when we might see his smile and hear his laugh. Over these last four months, we have cherished every moment with our son. We have marveled at the perfection of his hands and feet and face, at the color of his eyes and the shade of his hair. We have wondered who he most resembled. All along it was our hope that Isaiah's condition would brighten and improve. It has not.
The decision that has now been made may be incomprehensible. But it has been made, knowing that we did everything possible to find meaningful answers to our questions and that all reasonable alternatives were fully explored and carefully considered. In the dire circumstances of Isaiah's condition, who is to say whether a long or a short life would offer and assure our son greater dignity. We very much believe that life is a gift from God and that our son's inherent value and worth as a human being is not diminished by the number of days recorded in this world. Isaiah has reminded all of us once again that life is very precious and fragile.
Isaiah has been a blessing to us and his spirit will always be in our hearts. We will never forget the miracle of his birth, the Christmas spent together - and the early spring day when we said our goodbyes. We will always cherish our son and the gift of time with him. We thank everyone at the Stollery Children's Hospital for their care and dedication in sustaining Isaiah's life with dignity. For this, we [will] always be deeply grateful.
Thank-you to all who have listened to our story and supported our family. The expressions of love and compassion for our son received from thousands of people around the world helped sustain us in our darkest hours. Finally, we wish to acknowledge the wisdom, guidance and generosity of Dr. Richard Taylor, Dr. Marty McCaffrey and our lawyer Rosanna Saccomani. There are no words to express our deep appreciation to you. We have set our tiny miracle free and he is now home in the arms of angels.