KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – A Tennessee Santa Claus says a terminally ill 5-year-old boy died in his arms after he gave the child a present in the hospital.
The News-Sentinel reported Eric Schmitt-Matzen, who does about 80 events a year as Santa, was asked a few weeks ago to visit the dying boy.
Schmitt-Matzen, age 60, said he gave the child a toy. He says the boy gave him a big hug, asked “Santa, can you help me?” and died in his arms.
Schmitt-Matzen says it took him days to recover, but he’s continuing to play Santa.
The News-Sentinel report didn’t include details on the boy or the hospital. Schmitt-Matzen didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from the Associated Press.
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