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J.J. Abrams grants terminally ill fan's wish to see new 'Star Wars' film early

by Chris Serico /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" director J.J. Abrams helped grant the dying wish of Daniel Fleetwood, a fan who has terminal cancer, by letting him see a rough cut of the new movie ahead of its Dec. 18 release.

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Fleetwood's plea gained momentum through a social-media campaign and related hashtag (#ForceForDaniel) that went viral this past week.

"To all our wonderful supporters, friends, family and awesome strangers: Daniel's final dream was just granted!!!" his wife, Ashley, reported Thursday on her Facebook page. "Today the wonderful Disney and Lucasfilms made his final dream come true."

Ashley wrote that her husband had just finished watching an unedited version of the latest "Star Wars" installment in their Texas home, after Abrams had called the couple to inform them Daniel's wish would be granted.

"I want to thank ALL the amazing people who helped make this happen, thank you beyond words!!!" Ashley concluded, with one more use of the #ForceForDaniel hashtag. "May the force be with you all."

A 32-year-old Texas resident who's been a fan of the franchise since he was about 8, Daniel reportedly has a connective-tissue cancer called spindle cell sarcoma and worried he wouldn't live to see the new film. "Judging by how progressive the disease has gotten in the past two months, I really don't think I'll be able to make it," he'd told NBC News' Houston affiliate.

Before Daniel's wish came true, Ashley told NBC Houston's Keith Garvin that her husband's dedication to his dream was a commitment. "He still has … that love and I think that it's a beautiful thing," she said. "Even if it's just a movie, that's magic for a lot of people."

Before Abrams offered his help, Daniel earned the Twitter-based support of "Star Wars" stars Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, and John Boyega, who plays Finn. The two actors retweeted a post with the #ForceForDaniel hashtag to a combined 760,000 followers.

Follow TODAY.com writer Chris Serico on Twitter.

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