Tim Tebow and his fiancee, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, just shared a tragic bit of news with the world.
Nel-Peters’ 13-year-old sister, Franje, died over the weekend after a lifelong battle with cerebellar agenesis, according to The South African.
“Franje was born without a cerebellum, severely limiting her ability to walk, talk and develop as most other children would,” the news outlet reported.
Both Tebow and Nel-Peters paid tribute to Franje on social media with heartbreaking posts.
“My little princess, Angel on Earth, biggest joy and baby sister, Franke, passed away earlier today,” Nel-Peters wrote Sunday on Instagram. “Our hearts are aching beyond measure but I am grateful knowing she’s forever relieved of the pain she experienced on earth. She’s laughing, running and playing in heaven just like we always hoped she would on earth.”
“She’s free! Thank you for all your prayers, love and support.”
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My little Princess, Angel on Earth, biggest joy and baby sister, Franje, passed away earlier today. Our hearts are aching beyond measure but I am grateful knowing she’s forever relieved of the pain she experienced on earth. She’s laughing, running and playing in heaven just like we always hoped she would on earth . She’s free ! Thank you for all your prayers, love and support. ❤️ Lief jou vir altyd my Sussa en eendag sal ons weer bymekaar wees!
Nel-Peters ended her post with a statement in her South African native language.
“Love you always my Sussa and someday we’ll be together again!” she said, according to Fox News.
Her words accompanied an image that read, “You are loved forever,” along with Romans 8:38-39, which says, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Tebow posted a photo of all three of them together.
“Our loss but heavens gain. So grateful for the hope we have of being reunited with the ones we love through our Heavenly Father,” Tebow said on Instagram. “Mr & Mrs Peters and @demileighnp we are praying for you and love you so much.”
While any death, particularly that of a child, is tragic, this loss for Tebow and Nel-Peters has an extra bit of ironic cruelty to it.
The couple wouldn’t be together if not for Franje.
The Tim Tebow Foundation helps children with disabilities, and that’s how Tebow and Nel-Peters met.
“I don’t know if you know, but I have a half-sister who was born with a disability, and his foundation works very closely with children with disabilities,” Nel-Peters said in an interview last summer. “They have an event each year called ‘Night To Shine‘ and they host them each year in churches in different countries, and he invited me and my family. We started talking and we kinda haven’t stopped.”
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