An eight year old boy with a rare genetic disease died on Sunday, just one day after being named an honorary Marine.
Wyatt Gillete suffers from a rare genetic disease which typically occurs during early onset childhood, called Aicardi-Goutierres Syndrome Type 1. The disease affects the brain, the immune system and the skin. The disease causes seizures and leads to kidney failure. Wyatt had to take 15 medications a day.
Wyatt’s father, 29 year-old United States Marine Drill Sergeant, Jeremiah Gillette asked fellow Marines to pray for his son after he entered hospice care.
United States Marine, Anthony North took an interest and decided to create a petition on Change.org to make Wyatt an honorary Marine, which is rare, since only a few select people get the honor of becoming an honorary Marine every year as they have to make extensive contributions to the Marine Corps. Thousands of people, mostly Marines signed the petition.
Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller responded and made the easy decision to agree with petition, saying on Twitter that it was one of the easiest decisions he has ever made as commandant.
On Saturday, Wyatt was honored in a formal ceremony at Camp Pendleton in San Diego.
“He’s the toughest kid I’ve ever met,” Jeremiah told ABC7. “He’s the toughest person I’ve ever met.”
Jeremiah Gillette told the news station that Wyatt passed away at 10:06 am on Sunday peacefully and pain free.