Terminally ill 5-year-old boy dies in Santa’s arms

News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee Santa Claus says a terminally ill 5-year-old boy died in his arms after he gave the child a present in the hospital.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel reports Eric Schmitt-Matzen, who does about 80 events a year as Santa, was asked a few weeks ago to visit the dying boy.

Schmitt-Matzen says he gave the child a toy. He says the boy gave him a big hug, asked “Santa, can you help me?” and died in his arms.

“I cried all the way home,” Schmitt-Matzen told the News-Sentinel reporter. “I was crying so hard, I had a tough time seeing good enough to drive.

Schmitt-Matzen says it took him days to recover, but he’s continuing to play Santa.

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