Boy, 7, With Rare Condition Dies After Given Honorary Marine Title

Wyatt Seth Gillette was the 96th Honorary Marine recipient

Seven-year-old Wyatt Seth Gillette died Sunday one day after being presented the title of Honorary Marine, his father said.

Wyatt, who would have turned 8-years-old this month, received the title of Honorary Marine on Saturday in a ceremony at the School of Infantry-West Parade Deck at the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in San Diego.

Wyatt was born on Aug. 15, 2008 and was diagnosed with Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome when he was 4-years-old.

Aicardi-Goutieres is a developmental disorder affects the brain, the immune system and the skin. The disease causes severe secondary medical problems and complications.

Wyatt’s father, Sgt. Jeremiah Gillette, is a drill instructor with the Recruit Training Regimen.

Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller agreed to make Wyatt an honorary Marine last week in response to an online petition. The honor is bestowed on just a few people every year and recognizes civilians who have made extraordinary contributions to the Marine Corps.

Neller wrote on his official Twitter page that granting the petition was one of the easiest decisions he had to make as commandant.

"Keep fighting, Wyatt! You are a Marine!" he posted Saturday.

When the boy was undergoing dialysis last month, his father reached out to fellow Marines on social media for prayers. They started the online petition, which quickly gained supporters.

Gillette said he believes his son, had he been healthy, could have joined the Marines someday.

Wyatt was the 96th recipient of the award since the program first started in 1992.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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