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6-year-old 'Mrs. Bieber' dies of brain cancer

8:14 AM, Sep 27, 2012   |    comments
(NBC/Today Show)
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MERRIMAC, Mass. -- Six-year-old Avalanna Routh, aka "Mrs. Bieber," who got to meet her idol as she battled a rare form of brain cancer, died Wednesday morning, her family announced on Twitter: "Oh Avalanna, the brightest star -- you took our hearts with you, our greatest Love."

Justin Bieber posted his feelings in a series of tweets:

"just got the worst news ever. one of the greatest spirits i have ever known is gone. please pray for her family and for her."

"RIP Avalanna. i love you"

"please show respect to her and her family. say a prayer for her and for them. i miss her"

While Avalanna was being treated at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, staff there helped her stage a mock wedding, with the little girl wearing a "Future Mrs. Bieber" T-shirt next to a portrait of the pop star and under a banner that read, "Just Married." A social media frenzy brought Avalanna and Bieber together in New York, after which Bieber tweeted, "she was AWESOME! Feeling really inspired now! #MrsBieber."

Avalanna suffered from a fast-growing atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor. Only 30 new cases, typically in young children, are diagnosed nationally every year.

Avalanna "was diagnosed when she was 18 months and responded to initial treatment for quite a while, but the cancer kept coming back and ultimately she was no longer responsive" Dana-Farber's Charles Robert told the Associated Press. The girl died at home in Merrimac, Mass.

"She was a very courageous young person who lived her life with grace and determination," the institute said in a statement to the AP. "By generously sharing her story, she raised awareness worldwide about atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors and articulated the need for greater research of this rare cancer."

(USA Today)

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