Guinness World Records is sad to hear of the passing of teenage cancer fundraiser Stephen Sutton, who died peacefully in his sleep this morning.
The 19-year-old, from Burntwood in Staffordshire, raised more than £3.2m ($5.36m) for charity after news of his plight spread on social media.
Stephen was diagnosed with terminal cancer aged 15. However, rather than dwell on his misfortune, the teenager drew up a "bucket list" of 46 “weird and wonderful” things he wanted to achieve before he died.
This led to him completing a skydive and playing drums in front of 90,000 people before the Uefa Champions League final at Wembley last May, among various achievements.
He had initially set out to raise just £10,000 ($16,800) for charity, but his fundraising campaign attracted huge attention in April after he posted a selfie online.
At the beginning of this month, Guinness World Records was invited to Stephen's hometown of Burntwood in Staffordshire to witness him and more than 500 of his friends set a new world record for the ‘most people making heart-shaped gestures.
It was an honour for us to present Stephen with his certificate, which will be recognised in the next Guinness World Record book, fulfilling one of his lifetime ambitions.
Guinness World Record adjudicator Mark McKinley, who officiated the record attempt on the day, says he will remember Stephen’s bravery and spirit.
Recalling the attempt, Mark said: “While it started strong with a huge queue of people there was a point when it seemed that nobody else was coming.
“When it looked like they didn't have enough people to do it someone ran to the pub next door and told them they were doing a record for Stephen.
“What followed was the kitchen staff, numerous pub goers and a party celebrating a christening came to join. Such was his inspiration.”
“He was a genuinely lovely guy and, in that five minutes I spent talking to him, impressed me no end with his generosity, determination and sense of humour.”
Craig Glenday - Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief, said: “Everyone at Guinness World Records is very sad to hear that Stephen Sutton has passed away. Stephen inspired millions with the bravery he showed during his battle with cancer, and in doing so raised more than £3m for the Teenage Cancer Trust, an achievement that will improve the quality of life for many young cancer patients in the future.
“Our thoughts are with Stephen’s family and his many friends at this difficult time.”
To donate to Teenage Cancer Trust, Stephen's chosen charity, head to his fundraising page, which remains open at www.justgiving.com/Stephen-Sutton-TCT.