David Beckham has paid tribute to Kirsty Howard, 20, 'the brave young lady' born with a back-to-front heart and who was given just weeks to live at the age of four.
Kirsty, who celebrated her birthday last month, passed away surrounded by her parents and sisters at Manchester Royal Infirmary, according to the Kirsty Club, a charity founded by the youngster.
"Words cannot describe how amazing this young lady has been over the years .. Kirsty has been defying doctors for many years and whilst doing that she has been raising millions of pounds for terminally ill children," David wrote alongside a snap of him and a young Kirsty.
Kirsty Howard with Victoria Beckham
He continued: "I met Kirsty in 2002 when she became the nations and my good luck charm for the game against Greece, we also met the queen together in Manchester so you could say we have spent some amazing moments together over the years and it was an inspiration to meet such a brave young lady with so much drive for helping others. My love and thoughts go to kirsty's parents and sisters as this inspirational young lady will be missed ... My heart and love goes to Kirsty for letting me be a small part of your world over the years.. Rest in peace ❤️❤️"
With David Beckham and the Queen at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in 2002
Kirsty had many celebrity supporters during the years including Victoria Beckham, Prince Charles and David and Samantha Cameron. Thanks to her tireless fundraising, she raised more than £7million for the Francis House Children's Hospital in Manchester.
Kirsty with Prince Charles
During her lifetime, Kirsty has received several awards. In 2001 she received the Child of Courage Award and in 2002 she was given the Pride of Britain Award. Two years laters she won the Helen Rollason Award for courage at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards.