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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – A 9-year-old Maine boy with cancer has died after his wish for a Christmas celebration was fulfilled.

Jacob Thompson’s family used social media Monday to announce that he died Sunday at Maine Medical Center in Portland. His family thanked those who sent Christmas cards and prayers, saying it gave joy to Jacob and optimism to his family.

Jacob was diagnosed at age 5 with neuroblastoma, and was admitted to the hospital in October. Knowing time was short, his family held a Christmas celebration there earlier this month.

People were touched by the story. Cards poured in from around the world.

The boy loved penguins. His family urged people to make a donation to a penguin rescue group, Operation Gratitude “or pay it forward in your community.”

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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