'My whole world is gone now,' says mother of Smokies' plane cras - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

'My whole world is gone now,' says mother of Smokies' plane crash victim

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Tabitha Ritz Starling and her son, Hunter Starling, who died Monday afternoon in a single-engine plane crash in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (Photo: Courtesy Tabitha Ritz Starling) Tabitha Ritz Starling and her son, Hunter Starling, who died Monday afternoon in a single-engine plane crash in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (Photo: Courtesy Tabitha Ritz Starling)
GATLINBURG, TN (News Sentinel) -

Tabitha Ritz Starling began praying for her son, Hunter Starling, three years before he was born. Early Wednesday morning in a Facebook message she said he was the “greatest gift ever.”

Monday afternoon, Hunter, 8, died in a single-engine plane crash in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along with his father, David Starling, 41, and his girlfriend, Kim Smith, 42.

“I was so excited to be a mother and prayed for a little boy!” she wrote. “The day he was born was the best day of my life and it was love at first sight and he owned my heart from that day forward. He is the sweetest, funniest little man and never met a stranger! My whole world is gone now and do not know how to go on without him! I love my little man more than anything in the world.”

Read more from our news partners at the Knoxville News Sentinel.

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