“We would like to update everyone that this evening, after fighting the good fight on life support for 19 days, Joshua has gone off to be with the Lord,” they said.
“To everyone who has prayed relentlessly and shared our burden during this trying time, we thank you. Your prayers and your love have comforted us and we are grateful for your support. We will be sharing funeral arrangements in the coming days for those who are interested in attending.”
The page was set up to raise money for Joshua’s medical expenses after he was first admitted to hospital. It has since received more than $180,000 in donations.
Medical Expenses for Joshua HaileYesus. Please donate if you can and please share. https://t.co/KxN9HsWfvT
Prior to his death, doctors had warned that the soccer-loving school boy wasn’t going to survive the ordeal.
“(They) told me the bad news that he’s not going to survive, he’s not going to make it,” his father, Haileyesus Zeryihun, told local TV station KCNC in March.
“I was begging them on the floor, pleading to see if they can give me some time, not to give up on him. If I just give up on him, I feel like I’m just walking away from my son.”
Joshua’s family said he was a promising young speaker who could have become a pastor one day
Zeryihun said that a few days before his son was found unconscious he bragged to his brother about being able to hold his breath for a minute.
The family hopes their story will inspire others to talk about any games or challenges that could cause serious injury.
A statement released by TikTok last month expressed “profound sympathies” for the boy and his family.
“At TikTok, we have no higher priority than protecting the safety of our community, and content that promotes or glorifies dangerous behavior is strictly prohibited and promptly removed to prevent it from becoming a trend on our platform,” the statement read.
“We also block related hashtags and searches to discourage people from participating in or sharing potentially dangerous content.”