8-Year Old Boy With Terminal Illness Dies, Forever Part of "Police Family"

Gardena Police had deemed 8-year-old Erick Casillas an “honorary officer” last month after hearing the boy wanted to one day be a police officer.

By Samia Khan
|  Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014  |  Updated 8:33 AM PDT
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Erick Casillas has always wanted to be a police officer. On Friday, the Gardena Police Department made the 8-year-old's dreams come true. NBC4 was there as they delivered some holiday magic to the boy's home. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Gardena for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, 2013.

Gordon Tokumatsu

Erick Casillas has always wanted to be a police officer. On Friday, the Gardena Police Department made the 8-year-old's dreams come true. NBC4 was there as they delivered some holiday magic to the boy's home. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Gardena for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, 2013.

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After a more than year-long battle with a terminal illness, 8-year-old Erick Casillas of Gardena has died.

Erick died early Monday with his family by his side, according to a release by the Gardena Police Department.

Gardena Police surprised Erick last month at his home and gave him the title of “honorary officer” after they heard he wanted to be a police officer one day.

In his role as “honorary officer,” Gardena Police gave Erick, seen below, a junior police uniform and took him on a police ride-along.

WATCH: Gardena Boy With Terminal Illness Has Wish Come True

"During the short time we got to know Erick and his family, he touched the hearts of the members of the Gardena Police Department very deeply. He will forever be a part of our police family," Chief Edward Medrano said in a statement. 

NBC4 tagged along in December as police brought a Christmas tree to the Casillas family home, adding some holiday cheer during an otherwise trying time.

In late 2012, Erick was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. NBC4 reported last month that he only had a few days to live.

READ: Sheriff's Department Honors Terminally Ill Teen

"On behalf of the men and women of the Gardena Police Department, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the Casillas family," Medrano said.

Funeral arrangements are still pending. Anyone wishing to donate can visit www.juniorfoundation.org or make a deposit into a special account set up by the family at Chase Bank under the name Erick Casillas or Ana Erica Barragan.

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