MIAMI – A 10-year-old South Florida girl who won the hearts of thousands through a social media campaign documenting her cancer diagnosis and treatment died Tuesday.
Bella Rodriguez-Torres was four when she was diagnosed with an advanced and rare form of cancer known as Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. She was paralyzed at first, and her prognosis was dire, but as her treatment progressed, she was able to walk again.
At least 55,000 followed her progress on a Facebook page titled "Pray For Bella."
On Twitter, hundreds used the hash tag "#LiveLikeBella" to show their support.
Earlier this year, when her cancer returned, many of Bella's supporters posted her picture with a sign that read "I am a believer in Bella" as their Facebook profile photo. On May 8, she was placed into hospice after her organs began to fail.
"Bella has now joined Jesus in heaven. She went peacefully, surrounded by love," the family posted on Facebook Tuesday.
Friends from St. John Newmann Catholic Church in Kendall prayed with the family.
Bella touched many hearts. On Tuesday, her followers used social media to mourn their loss.
"Heaven has gained a new angel. A courageous little girl lost her battle with cancer today," Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez posted on Facebook. "May Bella rest in peace. My thoughts and prayers are with Bella's family and every family that has been affected by this terrible disease. Bella will never be forgotten. Live Like Bella."
Miami Heat fans mourning Bella's death are asking LeBron James to write Live Like Bella on his shoes: http://instagram.com/p/Z3ghbeJnkG/.
LeBron ended up granting Bella's dying wish and so did Dwyane Wade. They will be sporting "Live Like Bella" on their shoes for tonight's playoff game.
"Dwyane came up to me with the story today, and it was a no brainer for me," James said. "It's sad. It puts everything in perspective. At the end of the day this game is just basketball. Two great teams, we're competing, but it's just basketball."