PITTSBURGH - He gave a meaningful message to the world: appreciate life.
The 21-month-old boy from Johnstown who has been inspiring people around the world with his bucket list and banana split party died Sunday.
Ryan's mother posted this message on her Facebook page,
"At approximately 12:10 while I held Ryan in my arms and daddy held him as well - surrounded by so many who loved him Ryan drew his last breath. He is without oxygen, medicine, tubes, wires, and HURT - he is at peace."
Ryan Roberts was born with Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect.
Doctors recently gave Ryan only weeks to live, but Ryan's parents said they made the most of every minute.
Inside Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, where Ryan has spent most of his life, his parents made sure the little boy got to experience some simple joys like petting a puppy, finger painting, having a beach party and riding a bike.
Ryan's bucket list has gained international attention on Facebook after a friend of the family created a page for "Ryan's Banana Split Party."
Diane and Erik Roberts said they have received photos of people having a banana split in honor of Ryan from across the country and around the world. Almost 5,000 people agreed to attend the party and more than 58,000 have been invited to join.
"I wanted people to just not take tomorrow for granted and go home and create a memory with your children where you just have a banana split for dinner," said Diane Roberts.
The outpouring support from family, friends and perfect strangers has helped the Roberts through a difficult time. Diane and Erik Roberts said they had recently made the heart-wrenching decision to sign a do not resuscitate order.
Ryan was only given a 10 percent chance of being born alive, and his parents said he wasn't expected to survive his last surgery.
“We need more people out here acknowledging heart defects and more supporters for it because innocent kids like these are suffering every day,” Diane Roberts said.
Diane said her message to families continues to be to cherish every moment together.
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