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Tennessee boy, 10, pulled into a storm drain to be taken off life support

“We are broken-hearted, mad, and every other emotion at the same time,” father Jimmy Sullivan wrote about his son, Asher.
Water flowing into a storm drain
Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

The father of the 10-year-old Tennessee boy who was pulled into a storm drain following dangerous weather in the area has announced that his son has “officially passed away” and will be taken off life support.

Jimmy Sullivan, a superintendent at Murfreesboro’s Rutherford County Schools, has been sharing updates about his son, Asher, after the boy was found in a storm drain May 8.

Ten days later, the Tennessee dad shared the heartbreaking news that his son is “already gone.”

Asher Sullivan in a photo shared by his father.
Asher Sullivan in a photo shared by his father.Jimmy Sullivan / Facebook

“Asher officially passed away this afternoon around 1:20 pm. I say officially because of the events of the last 36 hours,” Sullivan began in a Facebook post uploaded May 18.

“Asher had one brain stem reflex remaining the last few days that kept him from officially being declared brain dead/deceased. The doctors had told us that they didn’t expect that reflex to go away, but that further improvement beyond maybe a finger moving was not possible. That left Kaycee and I with an impossible decision that deep down we knew we wouldn’t make,” he explained.

Sullivan said he and his wife asked for another MRI and spoke to neurologists about Asher’s condition. He said the results of the MRI revealed “further progression of brain damage” over the last five days.

“While we were away, Asher’s vitals crashed,” Sullivan continued. “His pulse and blood pressure became erratic, he lost the ability to control temperature, and the eye response ceased. Our sweet boy did what Asher has always done, he put others first. No longer did Kaycee and I have to make an impossible decision. Instead, he made it for us while we were out of the room.”

He said doctors performed two more tests as he and Kaycee waited for an update.

“No parent should have to watch this, but we knew for our hearts, we had to. The results showed us what we already knew, that our sweet Asher was already gone,” he wrote.

Sullivan said that he and Kaycee “are broken-hearted, mad, and every other emotion at the same time.”

He explained that their son is still on life support at Vanderbilt University Medical Center because he will be an organ donor.

“It’s 100% an ‘Asher’ type thing to do in continuing to be selfless. He will have an honor walk at the hospital in the next few days and be celebrated as he is, a hero!” Sullivan praised.

Thousands of Facebook users expressed their condolences and prayers for Asher's family in the comments.

Sullivan shared an additional statement about his son beneath the post.

“Asher lived more of a life in ten years than most do during a full lifetime. He visited all 50 states (something he was so proud of), visited four countries, played every sport imaginable, was the kindest/gentless soul I’ve ever met, loved EVERYONE,?and lived his life on GO at all times,” he wrote.

Sullivan said that he and his son would refer to each other as “papa squirrel” and “squirrel” because they both were always on the go and thinking about multiple things.

“He loved his brother and wanted to be just like him. He was obsessed with his mom and worshiped the ground she walks. His mom was his hero,” the proud dad wrote.

Sullivan ended his second message by asking for privacy as the family mourns Asher's death. He said they will hold a private ceremony to say goodbye to Asher with their immediate family and close friends.

“Please keep our family in your prayers as we navigate a world without the purest one of us in it,” he concluded.

Sullivan had previously posted to Facebook May 12 with an update about Asher. The dad said when Asher was initially found, his heartbeat was restored following CPR. But after being taken to the hospital, recovery did not seem “possible.”

“The worst case scenarios seemed to have come true,” Sullivan wrote on Facebook May 12.

On May 9, Sullivan shared on the social media platform that his son was playing with other children in the water after a storm cleared out of the area. The community was helping clean up debris in the area as the neighborhood children played. However, Sullivan explained in his Facebook post that his son was pulled into the storm drain.

“He eventually came out in a drainage ditch and CPR was administered for quite some time,” the original post read, and while his heartbeat returned, “the damage is substantial.”

When he was first admitted to the hospital, the father shared that the family had hope after Asher showed small signs of activity, including a response to pain in one of his arms. But he later wrote the “neurological signs we were seeing as positives have stopped.”

TODAY.com previously reached out to Sullivan for comment, but did not hear back by the time of publication.

On May 9, the school district where Sullivan works held a vigil, saying in a Facebook post on the district’s page that “what the family truly needs right now is tons of prayers.” After the vigil, the district shared that more than 500 people attended to pray for the family.

Murfreesboro is located roughly 34 miles southeast of Nashville. Tennessee has been just one of the areas hit by severe weather in early May. NBC News reports that one person was confirmed dead in Columbia, Tennessee, after a suspected tornado touched down, while NBC?affiliate WSMV?reported that a 22-year-old died in Knoxville after a tree fell on his car.

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