Baby Jacob Hinks, the premature infant whose photo showing hospital tubing was deemed "too graphic" at one point for a public page on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe, has died, his family said.
"It is with great sorrow that I have to report that Baby Jacob went home to be with God," a post on the baby's GoFundMe page read Thursday. "He was a fighter all the way."
Jacob's story made headlines after his family claimed GoFundMe didn't make his page public because a photo of the ill premature infant was deemed offensive.
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The move sparked a digital debate over the image and GoFundMe's photo policy and prompted a generous response from the website.
According to the Hinks family, Jacob's fundraising page was originally only accessible to those who had a direct link, making it difficult to raise the needed funds to help offset the mounting medical expenses that come with his condition.
Jacob was born 13 weeks early at just 1.5 pounds. His condition was initially listed as “grim,” but had been upgraded to “guarded” following at least one surgery and numerous complications.
When the organizer of the page, a close family friend, contacted GoFundMe, he or she claimed the popular crowdfunding website said the photo of the baby may be offensive to some viewers.
"They responded right away and said, 'Unfortunately, we never published it because your son's image (was) too graphic and too inappropriate for our viewers to look at," Jacob's mother, Christina Hinks, said.
GoFundMe later donated to the suburban Chicago family, posting $10,000 to his page from "The GFM Team."
The message with the donation read, "Sending Baby Jacob and the Hinks family healthy and safe wishes."
GoFundMe also featured baby Jacob's page on their homepage at www.gofundme.com.
"This campaign reflects the importance of friends and family, and sometimes even strangers, when families need help the most," Kelsea Little, GoFundMe's media director, said in a statement. "We are happy to help the Hinks family in their time of need, just as thousands of other people do every day on GoFundMe."
The GoFundMe page says donations will still be accepted after Jacob's passing as the family continues to pay mounting medical bills. As of Friday, the page had more than $28,500 in donations.