The sister of Tim Tebow’s fiancee, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, passed away over the weekend.
Nel-Peters’ 13-year-old sister, Franje, who apparently served as the couple’s matchmaker, died on May 4 after battling a lifelong condition known as cerebellar agenesis, reported The South African publication.
Nel-Peter confirmed her sister’s death.
“My little Princess, Angel on Earth, biggest joy and baby sister, Franje, passed away earlier today,” Nel-Peters, who was the 2017 Miss Universe winner, wrote in an Instagram post.
The girl, according to the report, was born without a cerebellum and limited her motor functions.
“Our hearts are aching beyond measure but I am grateful knowing she’s forever relieved of the pain she experienced on earth,” Nel-Peters continued. “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!
Tebow, a minor league player for the New York Mets who had a standout college football career, said it is “our loss but heaven’s gain.”
He added: “So grateful for the hope we have of being reunited with the ones we love through our Heavenly Father.”
— New York Post (@nypost) May 7, 2019
Other pageant winners offered their condolences.
“Love you dearly Dems,” former Miss USA Sarah Summers told Nel-Peters on Instagram. “You’re full of grace even in the hardest times.”
Tebow, who proposed to Nel-Peters in January, previously stated that he met his fiance through Franje.
“Her sister has special needs, so we invited them to Night to Shine in South Africa,” Tebow said on the “Today” show last year. “We kind of met and started talking through that and haven’t stopped.”
When he proposed to Nel-Peters, he wrote: “Thank you for saying YES and making me the happiest man in the world … You’re the love of my life, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“Any dreams I’ve ever had, you’ve exceeded them all! I love you and I can’t wait to spend forever with you!” Nel-Peters, who was Miss South Africa, before becoming Miss Universe.
According to Rarediseases.org, cerebellar agenesis is a very rare condition.
“The signs and symptoms of cerebellar agenesis can vary greatly from one individual to another. According to the medical literature, some individuals with cerebellar agenesis have had only mild symptoms. In fact, in some reported cases, it has been claimed that motor function may be almost normal, perhaps due to partial compensation from other areas of the brain. Reports in the medical literature discuss individuals with cerebellar agenesis who had a normal lifespan, attended regular schools and found employment and lived productive though often ‘simple’ lives,” the website says.