The heartbroken parents of tragic Cian McDonnell have told how they drew comfort from hundreds of well-wishers who gathered outside their home and lit up the night sky with lanterns in tribute to the brave 4-year-old.

Cian, from Carlanstown, Co. Meath, whose family had been trying to raise $1 million to enable the youngster to have a life-saving double-lung transplant in the U.S. in the coming weeks, lost his battle

against a rare genetic disease earlier this month.

Ahead of the youngster's funeral in Kells, Co, Meath last Friday, the boy's mother, Lisa, has told how her family is "completely devastated.”

'Our beautiful boy is with angels now' - little Cian McDonnell passes away: #HopeForCian

— (@Independent_ie) October 6, 2015
But she said the family, including husband Donal and daughter Chloe, 14, had drawn comfort from thousands of messages of support and prayers from the Irish public, as well as a moving candlelit tribute from hundreds of neighbors and friends.

"Last night hundreds of people gathered outside our house with candles and sent lanterns into the sky. They even sang one of Cian's favorite songs, 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.’ It was so beautiful,” Lisa said.

"He taught me so much and definitely made me a stronger and better person. He made a lot of people better people. In a lifetime no one would endure what he did in four short years, yet he always had a beautiful smile on his face.

"I love my boy so much. I can't imagine what is ahead and life without him. No parent should ever have to endure the heartache of losing a child. I can't describe this awful pain. I've never felt pain like it before.”

The youngster was believed to be the only child in Ireland to suffer from a severe bone marrow disorder called Dyskeratosis Cognetia, a condition so rare it affects just one child in a million worldwide.

Little Cian McDonnell 'with the angels now' after losing fight for life

— Irish Daily Mirror (@IrishMirror) October 6, 2015