UPDATED TUESDAY 08:40*
TEENAGER Joe Ellis has died.
The Isle of Wight had rallied behind a campaign
to raise £100,000 towards a new US drug treatment his family hoped could help treat the aggressive form of cancer the 13 year old had been diagnosed with.
The campaign, launched earlier this month, had already passed the halfway stage thanks to events being held across the Island.
A statement issued today (Monday) on the Facebook page for the Joe's Journey fundraising campaign stated.
"It is with a very heavy heart I post this today:
"Some days life deals a body blow that can seem impossible to recover from. Today is that day.
"Today we learned that we lost our very precious Joe Ellis. His enjoyment of life was immense and his fight for that life simply astonishing.
"As you would now expect his family have a huge void that will never be filled. The family have been overwhelmed by the support shown to them throughout their fight.
"Right now it is important that we don’t overwhelm them with any natural urge to respond to this heartbreaking news by contacting them direct. They ask that all expressions of sympathy come through one of us or even better, put your feelings or experiences on the Facebook page
; we will ensure that any other messages are passed on.
"Throughout the fundraising for Joe's medication we have used social media to help our cause under the banner of #joesjourney
. The family would like that cause to continue in Joes' memory. We had a mission to raise the £100,000 for the medication he so vitally needed and we want to continue that mission.
"This would be a wonderful legacy for a family of another small child; who find themselves in the unenviable postion that the Ellis family found themselves in, when this journey started.
"As well as the police family, members of our Island community — especially the children — and beyond have been passionate about helping raise money.
"Joe's passing will affect all of us differently, as this sad news hits home and whilst we can never fill the void, it is our hope that the sense of grief and helplessness will have a positive outlet, in the form of the #joesjourney project and provide a focal point for everyone involved.
"So despite this sad news we press on, because that is what Joe and his family want from us."
Pat Goodhead, headteacher of Joe's school Christ the King College, said: "Joe was a very popular, much loved and incredibly brave young man.
"The whole College community is deeply saddened by the loss of this wonderful young man who will always be missed.
"Our thoughts and prayers are very much with Joe's family at this difficult time, and we hope they can take some comfort from the joy and fun Joe brought to our College and the huge respect in which he was held."