Child of Conservative Leader, Dies
David Cameron is the flamboiant and funny character who leads the Opposition to the Government. He has a LARGE chance of being the next Prime Minister.
Tragedy for Cameron as son dies
© ITN 2009
Condolences have been paid to Tory leader David Cameron following the death of his six-year-old disabled son Ivan.
Ivan, who suffered from cerebral palsy and severe epilepsy, was taken ill overnight and died at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, early this morning, a Tory party spokesman announced.
Ivan, who featured in a family Christmas card sent by the Camerons last year, was their first child and was in and out of hospitals all of his life.
He was born at Queen Charlotte's Hospital in London on April 8, 2002. On learning of his son's illness, Mr Cameron has said in the past: "It hits you like a freight train because all the expectations you have for your child change immediately."
Mr Cameron and his wife Samantha have two other children, Nancy, five, and Arthur, three.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown led condolences following the death, saying the loss of a child was something "no parent should have to bear".
Mr Brown, whose baby daughter Jennifer Jane died in 2002, said: "Sarah and I were very saddened to hear of the death of Ivan and we have sent our condolences to David and Samantha.
And in a statement to the House of Commons in place of suspended Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Brown told MPs: "I know that in his all too brief life, (Ivan) brought joy to all those around him and I know that for all the days of his life he was surrounded by his family's love.
"Every child is precious and irreplaceable and the death of a child is an unbearable sorrow that no parent should have to endure."
In response, Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague, told MPs he had spoken to Mr Cameron who wanted to pass on the family's thanks for their messages of condolence and say how "hugely grateful" they are to the NHS staff who have helped Ivan throughout his life.
Mr Hague said: "Ivan's six years of life were not easy ones. His parents lived with the knowledge for a long time that he could die young, but this has made their loss no less heart-breaking...
"Ivan suffered much in his short life, but he brought joy and love to those around him and, as David himself has said in the past, for him and Samantha he will always be their beautiful boy."
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, whose wife gave birth to their third son at the weekend, said: "My heart goes out to David and Samantha at this incredibly difficult time for them and their family."
Some people with cerebral palsy suffer only minor problems but, as in Ivan's case, others have severe disabilities.
The condition's major effect is that it causes movement problems such as difficulties walking, feeding, talking or using the body. Some people are unable to sit up without support and require help with feeding.
Depending on which part of the brain is damaged, there may also be problems with sight, hearing, perception and accompanying learning difficulties.
The symptoms can take a few months to develop. Mr Cameron said he and his wife Samantha noticed that Ivan was having sudden jerky movements within days of his birth.