Wednesday, June 23, 2004

R.I.P Mattie Stepanek ( angel )

Mattie Stepanek, the 13-year-old Maryland boy whose poetry and message of peace captured the hearts of millions, died yesterday at a Washington hospital from complications due to a rare form of muscular dystrophy.

He began writing poetry at age 3, partly as salve for his grief over a brother's death from the same disease. In 2001, his slim book of poetry, Heartsongs, was published to fulfill the dream of an ailing child and became an international best seller.

The bright-eyed boy, whose big, dimpled smile and square glasses made Oprah Winfrey cry when he wheeled his electric chair onto her television show in October 2001, used his rise to fame to spread a message of hope.

His personal philosophy, "remember to play after every storm," developed from an early age, and stood him through several near-fatal episodes of his disease. In summer 2001, doctors at Children's Hospital in Washington warned that even a laugh or cough could cause his damaged windpipe to collapse, leading to death by suffocation. They could find no explanation for his improvement several months later.

He could have been had he survived one of the most inspirational and gifted peacemakers of modern times. Sleep well little one, till we see you once more.