HAMILTON, N.J. (AP) - His family plans to honor the memory of a New Jersey child who died of enterovirus 68.
The medical examiner determined the virus that has been causing severe respiratory illness across the country claimed the life of 4-year-old Eli Waller.
It's not clear how the Yardville Elementary School preschooler contracted the virus.
He was sickened at home, but the school was sanitized as a precaution. Another child who attended the same classroom of Waller's is also being tested for the virus.
Waller's father, Andy, issued a statement thanking the community in Hamilton Township for their support and help.
"The youngest of a set of triplets, born much smaller and lighter than his sisters, Eli nevertheless persevered through all the difficulties that came his way. We want everyone to know how grateful we are for such an outpouring of love and support, not only during Eli's life, but also after his passing. We hope that you all will continue to support our efforts to honor the memory of our perfect, beautiful son, Eli Thomas Waller. We love you, little buggy," his family said.
Andy Waller and his wife are establishing The First Day of School Foundation, which will support special education students.
Contact this email for more information on the foundation: firstname.lastname@example.org
The virus has sickened more than 500 people in 43 states and Washington, D.C. - almost all of them children. There have been nine cases reported in New Jersey.