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Chinese girl dies of cancer one month after crowdfunding controversy

Chinese girl dies of cancer one month after crowdfunding controversy

SUNDAY, December 25, 2016

Beijing - A 5-year-old Chinese girl at the centre of an online charity controversy has died of leukaemia a month after her father's successful plea for cash, state media reported on Sunday.

Luo Yixiao died early Saturday at Shenzhen University Health Science Centre. Her body was donated to medical research, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Luo's parents had brought festive clothes to the hospital in Guangdong province, southern China, with plans to dress her up on Christmas Eve.

But death was quicker than expected, father Luo Er told Xinhua.

In late November, Luo Er's heart-rending entreaty was read and liked by more than 100,000 people after a Shenzhen finance company pledged to donate one yuan (15 US cents) for each repost.

"You must be a good girl and come home with me," Luo wrote. "If you run away to heaven and even if you are an angel, when we meet, I will not talk to you."

The post went viral and raised an unprecedented 290,000 dollars in 80 minutes towards medical bills.

But a day later, internet users found that the family owned three apartments and already had medical insurance.

In response to the backlash, Luo Er announced he would accept only 5,200 dollars towards out-of-pocket treatment expenses.

The rest would be used to set up a foundation for children living with leukaemia, Luo told Xinhua on Saturday.