“WE don’t know how we will face the world without him.”

Those are the emotional words of the family of a “brave” young Hampshire boy who has died after a five year battle with cancer.

Alfie Butler, 5, passed away with his parents by his side at their home in Romsey on Thursday.

Little Alfie was just eight months old when he fell ill and was rushed to hospital where doctors told his parents James and Charlotte the devastating news that their boy had a potentially deadly brain tumour.

Alfie was later given funding by the NHS to receive Proton Beam therapy in America.

But despite seeing major improvement following the intensive six week treatment in 2016, Alfie’s cancer returned in 2018 and he was given just months to live.

Despite battling the condition for more than a year, Alfie succumb to his cancer this week.

In a tribute his family said: “With absolutely broken hearts we share the devastating news that our brave warrior took his last big boy breath at home with mummy, daddy and brother Harry while cuddled up in bed with us, just the way he would have wanted it.

“Alfie put up the most incredible fight over the last five years, he made our family complete and has given us a lifetime of happy memories with him.

“We are so proud to call him our son and so happy he chose us to be his family.

“We don’t know how we will face the world without him but we take comfort in knowing he is now out of pain and no longer suffering.

"Rest in peace our beautiful boy.”

As previously reported in the Echo, Alfie was diagnosed with potentially deadly brain tumour in 2015.

Alfie was immediately sedated ahead of major surgery two days later.

His family were forced to move in to the dedicated Ronald McDonald House based at Southampton General Hospital for months on end so they could be by Alfie’s side around the clock.

At the end of 2015, Alfie received Proton Beam therapy, then not available in the UK, in Jacksonville, Florida.

Family members said Alfie had shown major improvements since the treatment.

But the family were told in July 2018 that Alfie’s cancer had come back.

Despite a successful surgery, the cancer returned again in September 2018 and, after talks with doctors, James and Charlotte decided against further treatment.

Last month, the family were told Alfie had weeks to live after an MRI revealed two large inoperable brain tumours.

Alfie’s story gained thousands of supporters on Facebook and a number of fundraising events including a charity golf day attended by Saints legend Matt Le Tissier.