Queen leads condolences as Cameron son dies

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Conservative leader David Cameron and his wife Samantha were tonight mourning the death of their disabled six-year-old son Ivan, comforted by messages of condolence led by the Queen.

Ivan, who suffered from Ohtahara Syndrome, a severe form of cerebral palsy which also involves a rare and severe epilepsy syndrome, was taken ill overnight and died this morning shortly after arriving at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London.

His parents were with him when he died.

He was the couple's eldest child and had required round-the-clock care all his life.

A Conservative Party spokesman confirmed the news, saying: "It is with great sadness that David and Samantha Cameron must confirm the death of their six-year-old 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.

"David and Samantha would ask that their privacy is respected at this terribly difficult time."

Mr and Mrs Cameron have two other children, Nancy, five, and Arthur, three.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah, whose own daughter Jennifer Jane was born prematurely and died just 10 days later in 2002, wrote privately to the Camerons to express their sadness.

Buckingham Palace said the Queen had sent a private message of sympathy.

At Westminster, the Commons was briefly suspended as a mark of respect and Prime Minister's Questions was cancelled.

Instead, Mr Brown told MPs: "I know that the whole House will want to express our sorrow at the sad death this morning of Ivan Cameron at the age of just six years old.

"I know that in an all too brief life, he brought joy to all those around him and I know also 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 ever have to endure.

"Politics can sometimes divide us. But there is a common human bond that unites us in sympathy and compassion at times of trial and in support for each other at times of grief.

"Sarah and I have sent our condolences to David and Samantha and I know the whole country - our thoughts and our prayers - are with David, Samantha and their family today."

Mr Cameron's deputy William Hague, who spoke to the Tory leader before making his statement to MPs, 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 heartbreaking."

He added: "Ivan their son suffered much in his short life but he brought joy and love to those around him.

"As David himself has said in the past, for him and Samantha he will always be their beautiful boy."

Mr Brown, whose son Fraser suffers from cystic fibrosis, said earlier in a statement: "The death of a child is a loss no parent should have to bear."

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, whose wife gave birth to their third son at the weekend, said in a statement: "My heart goes out to David and Samantha at this incredibly difficult time for them and their family."

Ivan was born at Queen Charlotte's Hospital in London on April 8 2002.

He suffered his first seizure within weeks and was in and out of hospitals all of his life.

Ivan was diagnosed with Ohtahara Syndrome - a very rare epilepsy syndrome that occurs in childhood.

Children with the syndrome will have severe cerebral palsy, difficult to control epilepsy and delays to their development.

In Ohtahara Syndrome seizures start before the child is three months old and usually occur in the first 10 days after birth.

Describing how he learnt of his son's illness, Mr Cameron once said: "It hits you like a freight train because all the expectations you have for your child change immediately."

Friends have previously attributed Mr Cameron's modernising leadership of the Conservatives to the NHS care Ivan received.

The illness has also helped the Tory leader realise there is more to life than politics, they have said.

Shadow chancellor George Osborne, a close friend of the Camerons, said Ivan's disability "does not make today's very, very sad and sudden death any less shocking".

"Sadly he has been a very ill boy since the moment he was born, but nevertheless he was always at the centre of family life round at the Camerons," he told Sky News.

"He quite regularly had seizures and problems and would have to go to hospital. He had such a seizure this morning and very sadly died shortly after admission to hospital.

"It has left the Cameron family in a great deal of grief and shock."

Friends said it would be two weeks at least before Mr Cameron would feel able to make public appearances, but stressed he was both enormously grateful for the expressions of sympathy and acutely aware that he was not the only parent who had had to face such a tragedy.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
Life and Style
i100

Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Analyst / Marketing Database Analyst

£24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Analyst – 2 year fixed term contract – Kent – Circa £55k

£45000 - £55000 Per Annum 31 days holiday, pension, healthcare, annual bonus: ...

**SEN Primary Teacher Serf Unit **

£110 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Preston: We are looking for an experie...

Experienced Foundation Teacher

£100 - £222 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recruiting f...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week