Duchess Kate's 12-year-old pen pal loses cancer battle

A 12-year-old cancer patient who received warm support and letters from the Duchess of Cambridge passed away on Tuesday.

Fabian Bate, who was fighting leukemia, met the royal couple while he was in hospital in 2011 when they were opening a children's wing at the Royal Marsden Hospital.

Shortly after the opening, Duchess Kate wrote a hand-signed letter to the then nine-year-old and said she had been touched by his “strength of character” and “positive energy”.

"The Duke and Duchess are sad to hear the news and their thoughts are with Fabian's family," said a royal spokesman.

Fabian’s parents, Lydia, 53, and Darrell, 52, have spoken out about how much Kate’s support helped their son in his fight with the deadly disease.

"Just having the memory that the future king and queen are rooting for you is pretty awesome to have in your armory and for keeping your child going in the dark times," Darrell Bate told the UK Mirror. "I want Kate to know that it wasn't just a letter, it was a message that meant so much. It has stayed with him and it is staying with him now that he is departed.”

The Bates have decided to lay their son to rest with his most prized possessions, which includes Duchess Kate's inspiring letter.

"It is the only one in the world, it has that uniqueness — it is very personal and special," Darrell Bate said. "It was synonymous with what Fabian went through, he would not have got it otherwise. It would be amazing to think that Kate and William knew that the letter she wrote three years ago is now sitting next to his body at rest."

For more of the latest celebrity and royal news follow us @HelloMagUS on Twitter, Pinterest and like us on Facebook.