Mike Simmons holds his daughter Gracie Simmons, 11, while Gracie shoots video of the caroling, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, in West Reading, Pa., where thousands of people came out to sing Christmas carols in front of the home of Delaney "Laney" Brown, 8.Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
WEST READING, Pa. — A terminally ill girl who received support from thousands of Christmas carolers outside her home over the weekend died early on Christmas morning, her family said.
Delaney Brown, 8, of West Reading "passed away quietly with her loving family by her side," family spokesman Christopher Winters said in a statement Wednesday.
On Saturday night, thousands gathered outside her home in eastern Pennsylvania to fulfill her wish for a huge holiday singalong. The crowd cycled through holiday favorites such as "Frosty the Snowman," ''Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" and "Jingle Bells" and ended with a chorus of "Happy Birthday" to the girl, who turned 8 on Friday, The Reading Eagle reported.
Shortly after the caroling began, the family's Facebook page showed a picture of Delaney giving two thumbs up with the text, "I can hear you now!!! Love you!"
Delaney, whose nickname is Laney, was diagnosed in May with a rare form of leukemia. The community held fundraisers to defray the cost of her medical expenses.
An update posted Wednesay on the "Team Laney" Facebook page said: "My heart breaks right now. Our little angel on earth earned her pink glittery angel wings in heaven. She took her last breath at home in her bed at 3:10 surrounded by all her family and friends. I miss her so much already."
"Laney was a wonderful, kind, and loving child, who brought so much joy to our lives," the family said. "Even as her illness progressed, Laney never stopped having faith, she continued to smile in spite of her pain, and she showed more concern for all of us than for herself."
Her family also expressed gratitude for the support they had received from people all over the world.
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