Brave Kirsty Howard has passed away at the age of 20 after defying doctors’ expectations for many years.
Kirsty captured the world’s attention in her youth as she bravely fought against a condition that would ultimately take her life.
Celebrities across the globe have paid tribute to her.
In 2004 she won the Helen Rollason Award for courage at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards.
Kirsty continued to do charity work through The Kirsty Club which aims to keep improving the Francis House Children’s Hospice.
Little lionheart Kirsty Howard, six, who was born with her heart back to front and was given just weeks to live. She has come through a number of operations, is permanantly connected to oxygen
“Heart is aching”
Singer Russell Watson has paid a hugely emotional tribute to Kirsty.
He famously sang happy birthday to her last year as she received an Oustanding Achievement Award from the Variety Club.
He said at the time: “She’s a real inspiration and a true Manchester hero.”
“Privilege to know her”
Coronation Street star Anthony Cotton has taken to Twitter to speak of his shock and sadness at Kirsty’s death.
The soap star joined many more in praising the brave young woman for all she did to help the sick and terminally ill during her all too brief time on earth.
Celebrated birthday last month
Kirsty was born with her heart back to front and only celebrated her 20th birthday last month.
During her life she inspired celebrities and around the world including David Beckham – who credited her with helping him score the winning goal in a World Cup qualifier.
The tireless fundraiser was admitted to hospital on Tuesday suffering from a kidney infection.
Despite battling with her trademark courage, she suffered a cardiac arrest on Thursday morning and was transferred to the intensive care unit at Manchester Royal Infirmary.
ITV News reporter Nina Nannar said: “So sad to hear about the incredible Kirsty Howard who has died, so privileged to have met her, what an inspirational brave young woman.”
Amanda Sweeney tweeted: “RIP #kirstyhoward such an inspirational and very strong brave young lady. You will be truly missed. Heaven has gained a true angel xx”.
Karen Sutcliffe said: “So sad to hear Kirsty Howard has died. Such an inspirational young lady. My thoughts are with her family. #RIPKirsty.”
Kirsty Howard has passed after an inspirational battle against the odds.
Aged 20, former Pride of Britain Award winner Kirsty passed away in the early hours of this morning surrounded by her loved ones.
An a statement, Francis House hospice said: “Our deepest condolences go to her family.
“We cannot express enough our humble thanks and gratitude to an incredible young woman.”
David Ireland, chief executive of the hospice, said: “Francis House had struggled to meet its running costs for many years, Kirsty’s fundraising changed that and gave us a measure of security that allowed us to expand and develop our service.
“Hundreds of children, young people and their families owe a tremendous debt to the young lady whose face made Francis House a household name.”