Alabama “miracle baby” Eli, born without a nose, dies at 2-years-old

Brandi McGlathery tends to her son Eli at the NICU at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Mobile, Ala., on March 19, 2015. Eli was born at South Baldwin Hospital on March 4 without a nose. Besides not having an external nose, he doesn't have a nasal cavity or olfactory system. Eli has an extremely rare condition known as complete congenital arhinia, said his mother, adding that there are only about 37 cases worldwide like his. The chance of being born with congenital arhinia is one in 197 million, she said. (AP Photo/AL.com, Sharon Steinmann) MAGS OUT

MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) — The story of an Alabama baby boy, who was born without a nose, captured hearts across the country but now many are mourning his death.

Eli Thompson’s big smile and positive disposition showed the exceptional spirit of a little boy born with big challenges.

Eli was born in 2015 with congenital Arhinia, an extremely rare condition which causes the absence of a nose, nasal or sinus cavities.

According to the National Institute of Health, there are only around 30 reported cases of Arhinia so far

The condition also poses a major challenge for pediatric, craniofacial and plastic surgeons.

At only 5 days old, Eli received a tracheotomy to relieve breathing blockage.

WPMI-TV has covered Eli’s story for years, which has inspired others to keep fighting through adversity.

However, Eli died Saturday night at Spring Hill Medical Center.

Since then, there has been an outpouring of support and prayers for Eli and his family on social media.

Eli’s father Jeremy Finch posted on Facebook saying in part;

“We lost our little buddy last night. I’ll never be able to make sense of why this happened and this will hurt deeply for a long time but I’m so blessed to have had this beautiful boy in my life.”

Finch continued;

“It was God’s time to bring him back home. I’ll forever look forward to seeing him at the gates of Heaven waiting on me to give me another one of his famous fist bumps. I love you little man.”

The original version of this story was posted here