Terminally Ill 5-Year-Old Boy Dies In Santa's Arms

Posted at 4:54 PM, Dec 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-12 18:36:53-05

A Knoxville Santa Claus said a terminally ill 5-year-old boy died in his arms after he gave the boy a present in the hospital.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel reported Eric Schmitt-Matzen, who does about 80 events a year as Santa, was asked a few weeks ago to visit the dying boy.

Schmitt-Matzen said after giving the boy a toy, the boy asked how he would be able to tell when he got to where he was going after he died. Schmitt-Matzen told him to tell them he was "Santa's number one elf" and they would let him in.

He said the boy gave him a big hug, asked "Santa, can you help me?" and died in his arms.

Schmitt-Matzen said it took him days to recover, but he's continuing to play Santa.