Eric Schmitt-Matzen told the boy 'When you get up those pearly gates, you just tell castle you’re Santa’s number one elf.'

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Editor’s Note: The Knoxville News Sentinel, which an initial reported this story, announced Wednesday that it has been “unsuccessful” in its effort to verify the full facts of the account. NBC News has actually not to be able to separately authenticate the story.

You are watching: Five year old dies in santa’s arms

A terminally ok 5-year-old boy had actually his final wish fulfilled, dice in the eight of Santa Claus after he was afraid that would miss out on Christmas.


Eric Schmitt-Matzen, with a classic long white beard and curled mustache, dram Saint Nick in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Schmitt-Matze called NBC affiliate WBIR in an emotional interview Monday exactly how he answer the call to grant one child’s final wish to watch Saint Nick before he died.

“When I acquired there, it to be my task to make certain he got Christmas," Schmitt-Matzen called WBIR v tears.

Schmitt-Matzen said he had actually just gotten home from work around a month and a half ago a once a nurse in ~ a local hospital dubbed him and also said she had a an extremely sick child who want to view Santa.


"He was an ext concerned around missing Christmas, than dying," Schmitt-Matzen said WBIR.

When the arrived, Schmitt-Matzen said he asked the unnamed boy’s family to leaving the hospital room if they believed they would obtain too emotionally so that he i will not ~ burst right into tears himself.

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The boy’s mother provided him a gift to offer the boy, “something that was always wanting,” the said, toys from the children’s animated series PAW Patrol.


“What’s this i hear you’re going come be absent Christmas this year?” Schmitt-Matzen stated he inquiry the boy.

That’s once the boy told that he heard he to be going come die.

“Well, you’re no going to miss Christmas, the elves currently had your present, we knew you wanted this because that a long time,” he said he told the boy.


Schmitt-Matzen choked up together he said WBIR the he told the boy “When you obtain up those pearly gates, you simply tell lock you’re Santa’s number one elf.”

“I am?” the boy asked, perking up, follow to Schmitt-Matzen.

“You certain are, I’m sure they’ll allow you appropriate in,” that said.


The young then offered him a huge hug, the said, and also “he simply looked in ~ me and also said, Santa, have the right to you aid me?”

“And that’s when he passed,” Schmitt-Matzen said.


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Schmitt-Matzen an initial told his story to Knoxville News Sentinel Columnist Sam Venable and also it has since gained national attention.

He told the publication that after the young died, his mother ran back into the room screaming, and he left as quick as that could.


“I spent four years in the military with the 75th Rangers, and also I’ve viewed my re-publishing of (stuff). Yet I ran through the nurses’ station bawling mine head off,” the told the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Schmitt-Matzen stated he was prepared to cave up his Santa fit for great in despair, but found the stamin for one more children’s show.

“When I observed all those kids laughing, it lugged me back into the fold. That made me realize the function I need to play,” the told the Sentinel. “For them and also for me."

"When I experienced all those youngsters laughing, it lugged me back into the fold. That made me establish the duty I need to play," he told the Sentinel. "For them and for me."


On Wednesday, the Knoxville News Sentinel stated they were no able to independently verify Schmitt-Matzen’s story. At the moment of your interview, Schmitt-Matzen said he had promised to safeguard the identities the the child and the nurse who called him indigenous the hospital. Schmitt-Matzen continues to was standing by his account, but the publication said “his story of happen a gift to a dying child continues to be unverified.”

“The News Sentinel cannot create that Schmitt-Matzen’s account is inaccurate, but more importantly, recurring reporting cannot develop that it is accurate,” the publication claimed in a post.

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Daniella Silva
Daniella Silva is a reporter for NBC News concentrating on the economic recovery and also its result on families, and immigration.