Australian comedian Jimmy Rees has shared a heartbreaking announcement on his social media page, prompting an emotional outpouring of support from celebrities and fans.
Rees has gained a cult following for his sell-out “Meanwhile In Australia” tour and popular “POV” videos, which have attracted millions of views on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.
But fans saw a different side to the social media star on Monday, with Rees revealing that his 11-year-old nephew Rye had passed away after a long illness.
Catch all of your favourite shows on Channel 7 or stream free on 7plus >>
In an emotional post, “Uncle Jimmy” said that the young boy would “remain forever in our hearts”.
“Yesterday my nephew Rye passed away with his parents by his side,” Rees wrote on Instagram.
“Some of you may have been following Rye’s journey on his page @ryesworld_ …
“We love you Rye. May you Rest In Peace, pain free. What an incredible life of resilience, courage and strength.
“The mark you have left on us all will remain forever in our hearts. Uncle Jimmy will see you again soon buddy.”
In a social media post promoting a 2018 fundraiser for Rye, his family revealed that he’d suffered a series of health setbacks throughout his life.
“When Rye was born, it was discovered he suffered a stroke in utero, subsequently at six months of age he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy,” it read.
“Since then, Rye’s journey has been anything by straight forward.
“He was developing well until he was about two and a half years old, but has since been suffering ongoing regression and continual loss of skills.
“Rye’s doctors haven’t been able to find a diagnosis for his regression.
“Today, Rye has severe physical and intellectual disability and substantial behavioural impairment.
“He is 100 per cent dependent on others for all activities of daily living, including mobility, toileting feeding, personal care and communication, and to ensure his personal safety.
“Rye is tube fed via a PEG and requires many medications, which need to be administered numerous times throughout the day and night.”
Rye’s devoted mother spoke of her loss in a moving Instagram post, hours before Rees shared his announcement.
“Our beautiful Rye-man grew his wings today,” they wrote in a post on August 14.
“He passed peacefully at 12:56pm with his Mum and Dad by his side. The Royal Children’s Hospital, doctors, nurses and staff are beyond amazing!
“Our hearts are breaking and we can’t explain how much we love you Rye-man.
“Your strengths will live on through your little brother and sister. Fly high and pain free. Forever our baby!”
Rye’s family also runs Oke The Label, an inclusive clothing brand that gives back to children and adults living with a disability.