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Boy who inspired millions with recovery from tree limb accident dies at 7

More than a million people followed Tripp Halstead's recovery after he was critically injured by a tree limb during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
/ Source: TODAY

A young boy who inspired millions of people worldwide with his spirited recovery after he was critically injured during Hurricane Sandy has died at 7 years old.

Tripp Halstead's mother announced the tragic news on Facebook Thursday night, writing that "his little heart gave out," five years after he was gravely injured by a large tree branch in the storm's fierce winds.

"There are no words to express how Bill and I are feeling at this moment,'' Stacy Halstead wrote. "We are beyond devastated and honestly I believe I am in shock. Our amazing, perfect, beautiful miracle of a son, Tripp Hughes Halstead passed away at 5:47 pm today. He was our whole world."

Halstead wrote in a post earlier on Thursday that Tripp was having "labored breathing" when she woke him up for school that day, resulting in a trip to the hospital. Doctors determined his oxygen levels were low and thought it could possibly be pneumonia.

"His little body was just done fighting this last infection,'' his mom wrote. "His little heart gave out."

The boy's death came just over five years after he suffered a traumatic brain injury in October 2012 when he was crushed by a flying tree branch while playing outside at a daycare center in the family's hometown of Winder, Georgia.

He was in a coma for weeks afterward, but made an inspiring recovery to eventually return home from the hospital after 10 months. More than a million people followed regular updates of his progress that were posted on Facebook by his parents.

Community members in nearby Atlanta also rallied to help the family, including a nonprofit that spruced up the sleep room at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Egleston hospital during his long stint there.

Stacy Halstead and her husband, Bill, were with their son in the hospital when he died on Thursday.

"This winter was brutal for him,'' she wrote. "I’m just so thankful he had the best summer ever. Jet skis, Disney World, the list is endless and that’s when we got those amazing huge smiles."

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.