Daniel Fleetwood, Terminally Ill 'Star Wars' Fan Who Got Final Wish, Has Died
A terminally ill "Star Wars" fan has died just days after his final wish — to see the upcoming film "The Force Awakens" — was granted, his wife said.
Daniel Fleetwood, 32, made headlines around the world for his dream of seeing the latest installment in his favorite movie series before spindle cell sarcoma, a rare connective tissue cancer, claimed his life.
His wife Ashley told NBC News a week ago that a body scan had revealed that Fleetwood's lungs were 90 percent covered in tumors. She said time was short.
The Spring, Texas, couple's campaign started as a single Facebook post and grew online under the hashtag #ForceForDaniel. Mark Hamill, who reprises his role as Luke Skywalker in the new film, and Peter Mayhew, who plays Chewbacca, voiced support for Fleetwood to see the film early.
Last week, director J.J. Abrams decided to allow Fleetwood to watch an unfinished version.
"To all our wonderful supporters, friends, family and awesome strangers: Daniels final dream was just granted!!!" his wife Ashley posted on Facebook last Thursday. A Lucasfilm spokesperson confirmed the screening of the film, which opens on Dec. 18, had taken place.
Early Tuesday, Ashley said Fleetwood had died.
"Daniel put up an amazing fight to the very end. He is now one with God and with the force. He passed in his sleep and in peace. He will always be my idol and my hero," she wrote on Facebook, along with a photo of the two of them wearing #ForceForDaniel t-shirts.
The post had been shared more than 5,500 times as of early Tuesday morning and had hundreds of comments. Fleetwood's father, Dennis Fleetwood, confirmed to NBC News that Fleetwood had died.
Fleetwood was a dedicated "Star Wars" fan since childhood, Ashley told NBC News last week.
"He camped out for all three of the previous 'Star Wars' movies," she said. "He wanted to be the first ticket holder. It was a lot of fun and excitement."
The support the couple received online was more than they ever could have expected, she said.
"I can't wrap my head around it," Ashley said. "It's kind of a good thing, because if there wasn't this attention, I think I would have a lot more negativity and sadness. And this is at least providing us with something to still be hopeful for when there's not much else to be hopeful for."
Mayhew posted his condolences on Twitter on Tuesday. "R.I.P Daniel Fleetwood. May The Force Be With You, Always," he said.