THE HAGUE • The Dutch are mourning the death of Tijn Kolsteren, a terminally ill boy who raised millions of euros in a charity drive by daring people to paint their nails - including the country's top politicians.
"We are confused and devastated," the Semmy Foundation, the charity organisation supported by six-year-old Tijn, announced on its Facebook page on Friday, in announcing his death. It said he died on the final day of a new fund-raising drive, without specifying when.
Diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer in May last year, Tijn fired the public's imagination when he launched a move to dare people to paint their nails, hoping to raise a few hundred euros.
"Paint your nails, make a donation and then challenge three of your friends to do the same," his donation page said at the time.
Within a few days his action netted more than €2.5 million (S$3.9 million), with numerous public figures including Prime Minister Mark Rutte and DJ Armin van Buuren donning nail polish in support.
In total, more than €9 million was collected and the Dutch press hailed the brave youngster as a superhero. Soon he became known as "Super Tijn".
Pope Francis in April blessed him in a letter sent from Vatican City after he was told about the nail polish initiative.
Before his death, Tijn was working on a new charity drive called "Lak door Tijn" (Dutch for "Nail polish by Tijn") in which he sold four colours of polish to collect money to buy a specialised machine to treat children with brain cancer.
The goal amount of €1 million was reached on Thursday night, Dutch media reported.
His family was flooded with condolences and the hashtag #tijn became the top trending topic on Twitter in The Netherlands.
Mr Rutte praised him for inspiring people.
"Tijn is an example for many," he said before the boy's death.