7-year-old boy whose life was followed online by thousands dies

ATLANTA — The parents of a Georgia boy who was struck by a falling tree branch outside his day care five years ago say he has died. Bill and Stacy Halstead, the father and mother of 7-year-old Tripp Halstead, said on Facebook that their son died Thursday.

Stacy Halstead said in the post that Tripp died at a hospital after fighting an infection.

Tripp was 2 years old when the branch fell and hit him while he was at the playground of his day care on Oct. 29, 2012, during Superstorm Sandy. He suffered brain damage, remained in a coma for weeks, and was brought home from the hospital nearly 10 months after the accident.

Stacy Halstead said in the post that she discovered Tripp’s breathing was labored when she went to wake him for school Thursday morning.

“He was our whole world,” she said.

There are no words to express how Bill and I are feeling at this moment. We are beyond devastated and honestly I believe…

Posted by Tripp Halstead Updates on Thursday, March 15, 2018

Over the years, the Atlanta community stepped up to help the family, including holding car-wash fundraisers, CBS affiliate WGCL-TV reports.

Volunteers even helped transform the Halsteads’ home to make it more accessible for Tripp, who underwent at least 16 surgeries.

His family chronicled his life online with more than a million people following their Facebook page.

“You have been the most loyal and outstanding followers we could have ever asked for and We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the past 5 1/2 years,” Stacy Halstead said in Facebook post. “You let us into your lives and You were there when we needed you most.”

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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