Ashley Cain’s daughter Azaylia passed away aged eight months on Saturday after battling acute myeloid leukaemia for the majority of her life.
The reality TV star, 30, confirmed the tragic news on social media on Sunday, writing: ‘Rest In Paradise Princess. I will always hold you in my heart until I can hold you again in heaven ❤️ #AzayliaDiamondCain.’
Former footballer Ashley and his girlfriend Safiyya Vorajee, 34, had been updating fans on their baby girl’s health condition since she was diagnosed with the rare form of blood cancer at just two months old.
The couple recently raised more than £1.5 million to fund a trip to Singapore for life-saving transplant, but their little one became too unwell and doctors discovered tumours throughout her body.
Azaylia – who inspired her father’s powerful ‘let’s go champ’ message – underwent four rounds of chemotherapy in her fight and was recently nominated for a Pride Of Britain Award by thousands of supporters around the world.
‘Rest in paradise, Princess’: Ashley Cain’s daughter Azaylia has passed away at eight months old following a heartbreaking battle with leukaemia
The ex Coventry City winger and the aesthetic practitioner uploaded similar images of themselves cradling their little one before she passed.
Azaylia’s mother Safiyya shared two photos cuddling her beloved daughter, with the caption: ‘You are my Angel my heartbeat my soul, RIP my precious baby, you will always be with me like a handprint on my heart.’
Celebrities including Kate Ferdinand, Jacqueline Jossa and Malin Andersson sent their condolences to the grieving influencer and his family.
The brave child had suffered seizures throughout the week, with her parents being told to ‘make the most of this weekend’.
The media personality updated his Instagram biography with the words: ‘Rest in Paradise Princess, Azaylia Diamond Cain, Forever In My Heart, 10.08.20 – 24.04.21’.
Azaylia’s six-month battle against leukaemia inspired people all over the world, with more than 100,000 people joining the stem cell register.
Tragic: Former footballer Ashley, 30, and his girlfriend Safiyya Vorajee, 34, had been updating fans on their baby girl’s health condition (pictured earlier this year)
‘You are my angel, my heartbeat, my soul’: Azaylia mother Safiyya also shared two photos cuddling her beloved daughter
Heartbreaking: The brave child had suffered seizures throughout the week, with her parents being told to ‘make the most of this weekend’ (pictured earlier this week)
‘Sending you so much love’: Celebrities including Kate Ferdinand, Jacqueline Jossa and Malin Andersson sent their condolences to the grieving influencer and his family
Her story attracted global support – with Hollywood superstar Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson sending a video to Azaylia and her family.
On Friday, Safiyya had said she felt ‘blessed’ to have another day with Azaylia, telling her followers: ‘Azaylia had another turn. But she’s now rested and asleep and literally it makes your heart race with anxiety.’
Laying next to her poorly daughter, the doting mother continued: ‘But she gets through another day, blessed, my princess. And I feel so blessed. I am lucky to spend another day with you Azaylia. Every day is precious with you.’
The Ex On The Beach star told his fans his tot ‘stopped breathing’, became ‘stiff as a board’ and needed oxygen while they headed out for a walk.
In a lengthy caption, the social media star revealed his daughter needed the help of his palliative care nurses and oxygen after having a seizure.
Moving: The media personality updated his Instagram biography with the words: ‘Rest in Paradise Princess, Azaylia Diamond Cain, Forever In My Heart, 10.08.20 – 24.04.21’
Fought for her life: Azaylia’s six-month battle against leukaemia inspired people all over the world, with more than 100,000 people joining the stem cell register
‘My heart breaks for you’: Her story attracted global support – with Hollywood superstar Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson sending a video to Azaylia and her family
Overwhelmed: As of Sunday, his GoFundMe fundraiser for his eight-month-old’s treatment hit nearly £1.6million
Ashley Cain’s fundraiser for daughter Azaylia’s leukaemia treatment – who donated?
PrettyLittleThing founder Umar Kamani – £20,000
InTheStyle’s Adam Frisby – £10,000
Chet Johnson (Faded Clothing) – £10,000
Manchester United’s Luke Shaw – £5,000
Mrs Hinch – £3,000
Kate and Rio Ferdinand – £1,000
Love Island star Molly-Mae Hague – £1,000
Love Island star Maura Higgins –£1,000
Fulham midfielder Harrison Reed – £1,000
Watford forward Andre Gray – £1,000
Nottingham Forest defender Cyrus Christie – £1,000
West Bromwich Albion’s Robert Snodgrass – £1,000
Newcastle midfielder Isaac Hayden – £1,000
Ex On The Beach star Jemma Lucy – £1,000
JLS star Marvin Humes – £500
He wrote: ‘We had our own little adventure today, even if it was just walking up and down the street. It was special!
‘I thought we’d make the most of the sun today and have a little walk, as nurses came and told us this morning, to make the most of this weekend as Azaylia is becoming very fragile.
‘Shortly after these photos were taken Azaylia had a seizure. Her eyes rolled back, she stopped breathing and her body went as stiff as a board. We put her on oxygen straight away and called for the oncall nurses.
‘After a few hours of close observation we managed to settle her. This has happened a few times now, but it never gets any easier.
Worrying: The Ex On The Beach star told his fans the tot ‘stopped breathing’ during a brief walk outside in an Instagram post on Friday
Family first: The influencer shared a gallery of images of his little girl nestled in her pram while they enjoyed the short outing
Ordeal: Later, Ashley also shared a video of his daughter settled next to him in the living room, writing: ‘Her strength to keep bouncing back is incredible!’
‘Yet she continues to battle through! Your determination inspires me. You impress me each and every day. I’m so proud of you. I can’t imagine my life without you. I have faith in you. My Champion. My Hero. I love you.’
Later, Ashley also shared a video of his daughter settled next to him in the living room, writing: ‘Another scary moment with the oncall nurses out.
‘Now she’s settled and sleeping again. Her strength to keep bouncing back is incredible! I ain’t got no plans of this little one going anywhere this weekend.’
He said: ‘The palliative care team told us to make the most of the weekend and you understand what that message means the fact of the matter is we make the most of her everyday, we make the most of everyday…
‘I tell you what, I got no plans for her going anywhere this weekend. I’m an optimist. I’m a believer. I’ve got a positive mind frame and I know her strength. I know mine…
‘I ain’t thinking them things because I don’t have to be told to make a special effort to enjoy her because I enjoy her every day. I ain’t got no plans of this little one going anywhere this weekend, trust me. Let’s go champ, the things you have to do.’
The father revealed her temperature spiked shortly after a hospital trip, before happening again when they reached home – causing a nursing team to monitor her until 1am.
Ashley admitted ‘there’s a lot you don’t see’ as he detailed the recent ordeal in an Instagram clip on Thursday during a 5k run after feeling ‘pain, stress and depression.
The former sportsman explained: ‘Yesterday we got into hospital, got our platelets done and managed to sort her NG tube out, thankfully.
‘There is no easy day on this journey’: On Wednesday, the sportsman revealed Azaylia had returned to hospital again after being unable to feed through her tube
What are the symptoms of leukaemia in children?
Fatigue and pale skin – this is because leukaemia can cause anaemia which makes a child feel weak, tired and light-headed.
Infections and fever – children with leukaemia lack normal white blood cells which would normally help fight infection.
Rash – children may have small, dark spots that look like common rashes if the leukemia cells spread to the skin
Easy bruising or bleeding – this includes frequent nosebleeds, bleeding gums and bleeding a lot from small cuts.
Bone or joint pain – this is caused by a build up of leukaemia cells near the surface of the bone or inside the joint.
Swelling of the abdomen – leukaemia cells may collect in the liver and spleen causing them to enlarge.
Loss of appetite and weight loss – if the spleen and liver swell, they can press against the stomach causing loss of appetite.
Swollen lymph nodes – some leukaemias spread to the lymph nodes causing them to swell.
Source: American Cancer Society
‘Then just as we were getting back into the car she had a spike in temperature and a seizure, her eyes were rolling, she was hot, she wasn’t breathing.
‘We had to get her on the oxygen straight away – she settled then when we got home it happened again and we ended up having a nurse from the palliative care team at our house until 1am.’
On how Azaylia’s condition is affecting his mental health, the TV star went on: ‘It’s difficult, man – there’s a lot you don’t see, there’s a lot you wouldn’t want to see.
‘It’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week with no breaks, but it’s all worth it because guess what? She woke up again this morning. All the hard work we’re putting in now, it’s worth it in the end to get that little smile, her eyes opening – it’s amazing.
Special memories: The campaigner recently uploaded shared a picture of the moment Azaylia met her cousin Anaya
‘It’s been months, but the last few days especially I’ve woken up feeling pain, stress, depression, that’s been consuming my mind as well as my body – stopping me from doing the things that were second nature to me, and I don’t like it.’
He added that his little one’s resilience was keeping him going as he added: ‘I’m going to get up, get out, and get at it – getting out today in the hope that when I walk back in my house, I’m going to be the best me that I can be for my daughter.
‘I can give her the energy, commitment, and positivity, and I can help carry this ship to where it’s gonna be. Let’s go champ, we’re still in the game.’
For help and support caring for children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, please contact Together for Short Lives on 0808 8088 100 or visit www.togetherforshortlives.org.uk.
Poor baby: Doctors had found tumours in Azaylia’s stomach, her spleen, her liver and her kidneys, in addition to tumours in her brain, as the chemotherapy wasn’t working
Candid: Ashley showed the extensive medication his terminally-ill daughter Azaylia had to have on social media