WATCH: Santa talks about 5-year-old who died in his arms - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

WATCH: Santa talks about 5-year-old who died in his arms

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee Santa Claus says a terminally ill 5-year-old boy died in his arms after he gave the child a present in the hospital.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel reports Eric Schmitt-Matzen, who does about 80 events a year as Santa, was asked a few weeks ago to visit the dying boy.

Schmitt-Matzen says he gave the child a toy. He says the boy gave him a big hug, asked "Santa, can you help me?" and died in his arms.

Schmitt-Matzen says it took him days to recover, but he says he's continuing to play Santa.

He said the initial call came from a nurse at the hospital. When he arrived, he met with the boy’s mother and family members. The mother had also bought a toy that she wanted him to give the boy when he greeted him as Santa.

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