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Jaxon Buell, Florida ‘miracle boy,' passes away at 5

Buell’s photos, story inspired people worldwide

VIDEO: Jaxon Buell, a 5-year-old who captivated people across the world with his unique look and inspirational story, has passed away.

NORTH CAROLINA – Jaxon Buell, a 5-year-old who captivated people across the world with his unique look and inspirational story, has passed away.

He died on April 1. His father, Brandon Buell, shared news of his passing with News4Jax.

“Jax passed away very peacefully, comfortable in my arms,” Buell said. “He was surrounded by his parents and his family and enjoyed so much love and snuggles in the final moments of his life and journey with us.”

Jaxon, born in central Florida in 2014 to Brandon and Brittany Buell, was not expected to live more than a few days. Due to a birth defect called micro hydranencephaly, he only had part of his skull and his brain was about 1/5 the normal size.

Some suggested that Buell’s mother get an abortion, however, as devout Christians, they decided they were going to have Jaxon via C-section.

“We’re never going to play God. We always gave him a chance, a fighting chance," said Brandon.

While Jaxon couldn’t walk or talk, his parents documented his journey and progress, calling him their ‘miracle.’ Through social media, the world followed along as he smiled, made noises seemingly communicating with his parents, rolled over and made eye contact with family members.

“He’s our miracle baby. He’s our hero. He’s definitely our little hero,” mother Brittany said in 2015.

The internet adopted #JaxonStrong and donors raised significant funds for his medical bills. Jaxon’s story was featured on news outlets across the world, including News4Jax.

On Facebook, more than 225,000 people followed Jaxon’s growth and adventures. Fans of the boy said he and his parents were inspirational because they never gave up hope.

Jaxon’s family spent time in Jacksonville, swearing that he enjoyed being at Jaguars football games. Former quarterback Blake Bortles developed a bond with the Buell family and helped them raise awareness for his rare condition.

In March, Jaxon’s health took a turn for the worse. His organs began to shut down. He entered hospice care weeks before his death, with his family by his side.

“I have no idea how this healing process is supposed to go,” Brandon said. “All I know is how proud of my son I am, how much I will miss him, how much he has changed my life, and how much he has touched countless others.”

His father pointed out that Jaxon’s death was not related to COVID-19.

In an emotional post on Instagram, Brandon wrote a message to his late son:

“I love you so much, Jaxon. I can’t wait to see you again someday in your perfect form, running and laughing in Heaven. Enjoy the head start, son. You earned it by being the most perfect, the sweetest, and the strongest little boy ever.”

He followed up with another post, paying tribute to his only child:

“I will never forget his beautiful bright blue eyes and his perfect smile along with all the precious memories we created together. His strength, sweetness, and incredible spirit will live on. Fly high and run far, son. You deserve it all so much!”

About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.