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'Star Wars' stars support terminally ill fan's wish to see 'Force Awakens' early

A 32-year-old Texas resident, Daniel Fleetwood reportedly has terminal cancer and a dying wish to see the new cinematic installment.
/ Source: TODAY

Like most "Star Wars" super-fans, Daniel Fleetwood can't wait to see "The Force Awakens." But unlike the vast majority of them, his condition is a matter of life and death.

A 32-year-old Texas resident who's been a fan of the franchise since he was about 8, Fleetwood reportedly has terminal cancer and a dying wish to see the new cinematic installment before its Dec. 18 release.

"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 told NBC News' Houston affiliate.

Through the years, he's written his own "Star Wars" fan-faction novels, and been the focus of a local newspaper's story about how he camped out in 2005 to see an early "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" screening. "I just love 'Star Wars,'" he told NBC Houston's Keith Garvin. "With everything I got, I love 'Star Wars.'"

He's defied an oncologist's July prognosis that he had only two months to live with a connective-tissue cancer called spindle cell sarcoma, according to Garvin. But Fleetwood, now receiving hospice care from home, feared he may not be able to hang on much longer.

With the help of his wife, Ashley, his plea to see an advance screening of "The Force Awakens," or even a glimpse of it, has been gaining traction on social media and via mainstream media. "It's a commitment," she said, "and he still has that commitment, that drive, and that love and I think that it's a beautiful thing. Even if it's just a movie, that's magic for a lot of people."

Thanks to a related hashtag (#ForceForDaniel) and the Twitter-based support of "Star Wars" stars Mark Hamill and John Boyega, the social-media campaign has gone viral over the past few days. Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, and Boyega, who plays Finn, retweeted user @NerdFu's Friday tweet — which includes the hashtag and asks to "spread the word" for Fleetwood's cause — to a combined 760,000 followers.

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Fleetwood is asking fans to continue the campaign, as time does not appear to be on his side.

"Please do what you can," he implored. "Help me."

Follow writer Chris Serico on Twitter.