PORTLAND, Maine (CBS/AP) — A 9-year-old Maine boy with cancer has died after his wish for a Christmas celebration was fulfilled.

Jacob Thompson’s family used social media Monday to announce that he died Sunday at Maine Medical Center in Portland. His family thanked those who sent Christmas cards and prayers, saying it gave joy to Jacob and optimism to his family.

jacob thompson Boy With Cancer Who Wanted Cards For His Last Christmas Dies

Jacob Thompson is asking for Christmas cards. (CREDIT: Courtesy Michelle Thompson Simard)

Jacob was diagnosed at age 5 with neuroblastoma, and was admitted to the hospital in October. Knowing time was short, his family held a Christmas celebration there earlier this month.

People were touched by the story. Cards poured in from around the world.

jacob thompson halloween Boy With Cancer Who Wanted Cards For His Last Christmas Dies

Jacob reading greeting cards. (CREDIT: Courtesy Michelle Thompson Simard)

The boy loved penguins. His family urged people to make a donation to a penguin rescue group, Operation Gratitude “or pay it forward in your community.”

“Each and every person who sent Jacob a Christmas card, a gift, a Facebook message or video, or a prayer made a difference in the final days of his life,” his family said. “You brought Jacob joy, and you brought us all optimism for the future.”

The Stoughton Police Department, which was put together a cruiser convoy to visit Jacob earlier this month, expressed their condolences on Twitter.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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