TOUCHING tributes have been paid to a poorly boy who has died aged just three.
Little Luke Newman-Leadbitter touched the hearts of thousands when the Mail reported last year how he had overcome the battle of his life.
He had almost died three times, underwent numerous operations including heart surgery and was given just a week to live after doctors said there was nothing more they could do for him.
But when he was 21 months old, in January last year, he was allowed home for the first time since he was born.
Luke, who suffered from CHARGE syndrome, a genetic condition affecting the ears, eyes, heart and nasal passages, genitals and growth, had been on the up over the past year.
His family were even looking forward to him starting school this month and had planned a holiday to Disneyland through the Make A Wish Foundation.
But their hopes faded when Luke was suddenly taken ill on Tuesday, September 23.
His mum Nicola, 28, from Peterlee Close, in Peterlee, said: “He has been great, he was due to go to school.
“But he took bad on the Tuesday, we took him to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and we got told he only had 48 hours to live.”
Luke spent his final days at St Oswald’s Hospice, in Newcastle, and the little battler clung on to life before losing his fight on Sunday.
Nicola, who married Luke’s dad Paul Newman, 49, last year and is also mum to Toni Gallagher, six, paid tribute to her son, saying: “He was so happy in his little self.
“He was so happy-go-lucky, he was perfect.
“His heart couldn’t take any more.
“We are just devastated, it’s been a big shock, especially as he had been doing so well.”
Nicola said Luke was the third young CHARGE sufferer in the world to die in the space of a week, according to internet message boards.
Luke’s funeral will take place at St Cuthbert’s Church, in Manor Way, in Peterlee, at 10.30am on Monday, October 6.
Luke’s condition was previously known as Goldenhar syndrome, which can affect between one in 3,500 and one in 26,000 people in the UK.