Family spokeswoman: British baby Charlie Gard has died

Chris Gard and Connie Yates, parents of critically ill baby Charlie Gard. AP photo: Jonathan Brady photo

LONDON (AP) — Charlie Gard, the critically ill British baby at the center of a legal battle that attracted the attention of Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump, has died. He would have turned 1 next week.

Charlie suffered from a rare genetic disease, mitochondrial depletion syndrome, that caused brain damage and left him unable to breathe unaided.

His parents fought for the right to take him to the U.S. for an experimental therapy they believed could prolong his life. But Charlie’s doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital objected, saying the treatment wouldn’t help and might cause him to suffer. The dispute ended up in court.

A judge ruled Thursday that Charlie should be transferred to a hospice and taken off life support after his parents and the hospital that had been treating him failed to agree on an end-of-life plan.

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