Three-week-old baby Carter Cookson, who was born prematurely on Boxing Day with heart problems, has died.
His parents Sarah and Chris Cookson, from South Shields, South Tyneside, launched a desperate appeal in the days after Carter’s birth to find a new heart for him after being told a transplant was his only hope.
But on Saturday evening, Mrs Cookson, 43, wrote on Facebook: “RIP Carter John Cookson. Today he could not fight anymore.
“At 5.44pm our brave baby boy Carter John Cookson gained his angel wings and flew into his big brother’s arms.”
The couple had already been through the heartbreak of losing their first son Charlie, who died when he was just two years old from an undiagnosed condition in 2013.
After Charlie’s death, the couple set up the Charlie Cookson Foundation to support other families with seriously ill children.
Mrs Cookson added in her Facebook post: “We are heartbroken… our two boys are in heaven without their Mammy and Daddy we feel so empty and our hearts will never recover.
“No more pain baby boy, No more tubes… be free with your big brother and Granda… until we can all be together again. You have taken our hearts with you… we will never recover.”
On Friday, the Cooksons had said they were trying to focus on spending time with Carter, who they feared only had days to live.
“Our hearts are breaking… as once again no phone call… and another day closer to losing our baby,” they wrote.
Carter survived three cardiac arrests within hours of being born but doctors became concerned after realising his heart was damaged on one side.
He was operated on to drain the damaged side of his heart and install a pacemaker, but the surgery was unsuccessful.
He had been kept alive at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital by an Ecmo (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) machine, which pumps blood around his body.
But the Ecmo machine could not be used indefinitely because of complications with the equipment, which meant Carter needed a heart transplant within days.
(c) Sky News 2019: Baby Carter Cookson has died after appeal for heart donor fails