Little boy who got thousands of Christmas cards dies after cancer battle

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(CNN) -

Jacob Thompson, the boy who got thousands of Christmas cards from charmed fans this fall, has died after a long battle with cancer.

The 9-year-old was diagnosed with Stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma, a brain cancer, in 2014. In October of this year, doctors told his parents that he only had a month or so to live.

That meant he would probably miss Christmas.

To make the most of the time he had left, his family celebrated Christmas early, and Jacob asked people to send him Christmas cards to help make his last holiday special.

Oh, and how people responded -- thousands of cards, some featuring his favorite animal -- penguins -- made it to his bedside at the Maine Medical Center. He had some celebrity admirers, too, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, who made him a card, and members of the University of Maine hockey team and various local law enforcement organizations, who visited him in the hospital.

On Sunday, November 19, Jacob passed away.

His family thanked everyone for their kindness, and said they hope Jacob's story raises awareness of neuroblastoma, which commonly affects young children.

"Each and every person who sent Jacob a Christmas card, a gift, a Facebook message or video, or a prayer made a difference in the final days of his life," they wrote on Jacob's Facebook page. "You brought Jacob joy, and you brought us all optimism for the future. Thank you for taking the time, and taking an interest in our sweet boy's journey.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

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