AN EIGHT-YEAR-OLD boy died from an aggressive form of cancer just hours after his parents made a desperate plea for donations for experimental treatment.

Luke Bell, from Darlington in County Durham, had been battling neuroblastoma since April 2017.

His parents were recently told the cancer had spread and last night they confirmed he died “peacefully” and “surrounded by the people he loved most” on Sunday.

Mark and Becky Bell wrote on the TeamLuke Facebook page: “Last night our world was changed forever.

"This latest battle has been one too many, and our little superhero is no longer with us.

“Luke passed away peacefully, comfortable and in his favourite place surrounded by the people he loved the most.

“Words can't describe just how devastated and heartbroken we are; though we can take some consolation from the fact he is now free of pain.”

Luke’s parents went on to thank everyone who had supported him and the family.

They added: “As a family we would like to thank everyone that has been involved in Luke’s journey, whether it’s been donating, fundraising, messages of support or sharing his story.

“The number of people that have reached out to use over the last 20 months has been a real source of strength and we will always be grateful for that.

“Now is not a time for sadness, for Luke wouldn't stand for it. Now is the time for focusing on the positives, the amazing memories and the incredible impact he has had on so many lives.

“At only eight years old Luke has shown such a huge amount of strength, bravery and courage to fight as long as he did.

“The world seems a darker place today without his infectious smile.”

The couple’s Facebook post comes a day after the pair made a public plea to raise £50,000 for experimental treatment at the Paediatric Cancer Centre in Barcelona, Spain.

Luke had been accepted onto the trial and was due to begin treatment on January 21.

The treatment costs £140,000 and his parents had already raised £95,000.

Mark told the Mail on Sunday: “In November, his NHS consultant said that his cancer had spread to his skeletal system and that his bone marrow is now made up of 70 per cent cancerous neuroblastoma cells.

“We were told he has only got weeks – or a few months at best – to live.”

Fewer than 100 children a year in the UK are diagnosed with neuroblastoma.

Luke underwent 11 rounds of chemotherapy and surgery to remove a large tumour, but after being told he was clear in January the doctors said it had returned four months later.