Last month, a social media campaign was launched for terminally-ill Star Wars fan Daniel Fleetwood, who has been battling a rare form of cancer and wasn't expected to live long enough to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens when it hits theaters on December 18. Thanks to an overwhelming amount of social media support, Daniel got his wish last week, as LucasFilm screened an unedited print of Star Wars: The Force Awakens at his Texas home. Last night, his wife Ashley Fleetwood revealed on her Facebook page that her husband has passed away at the age of 32, just five days after watching the highly-anticipated film. Here's what she had to say in a brief statement.
"Daniel put up an amazing fight to the very end. He is now one with God and with the force. He passed in his sleep and in peace. He will always be my idol and my hero. Please hug uncle Marc for me and give Lucy lots of kisses. Rest in peace my love. #forcefordaniel"
Ashley Fleetwood's #forcefordaniel campaign started with a single tweet sent out on October 27, asking director J.J. Abrams if her husband could screen the highly-anticipated film early. A day later, she sent out another tweet with a photo of Daniel, which went viral, getting over 1,400 retweets, and within just a few short days, her campaign went worldwide, with Star Wars cast members such as Warwick Davis, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew helping to spread awareness through their own social media accounts. The campaign paid off on November 5, when LucasFilm and Disney arranged to screen Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In 2013, J.J. Abrams screened an early version of Star Trek Into Darkness for a fan who died shortly thereafter. Here's what his wife had to say shortly after the screening, on her Facebook page.
"To all our wonderful supporters, friends, family and awesome strangers: Daniels final dream was just granted!!! Today the wonderful Disney, Bad Robot and Lucasfilms teams made his final dream come true, in the amazing typical Disney way, they really do make dreams come true! Daniel just finished watching an unedited version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens!!! We would like to thank the awesomely talented J.J. Abrams for calling us yesterday to tell us Daniel was getting his wish granted! We also would like to thank Lynne, Ben and Anahuac for coming to our home and screening the movie for Daniel. Lastly I want to thank ALL the amazing people who helped make this happen, thank you beyond words!!! May the force be with you all."
Daniel Fleetwood, who grew up watching the Star Wars movies with his father, was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma, a rare form of connective tissue cancer in 2012, which spread to his lungs. Earlier this summer, Daniel was given just two months to live, and as the disease became more progressive, he didn't think he'd be able to make it until Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters. His wife Ashley has also set up a Go Fund Me page to help pay his medical bills, which has just over $50,000 in donations, half of her $100,000 goal. Take a look at Ashley Fleetwood's last photo with her husband Daniel before he passed away, along with a tweet from John Boyega after he learned of Daniel's passing. You can also visit Ashley's Go Fund Me to learn more about her fundraising campaign for Daniel's medical bills.