Distraught Tom Evans, 21, is said to have spent ten minutes fighting to resuscitate his son, who suffers from a rare degenerative condition, before being forced to accept he was gone.
Alfie had survived for five days after being taken off life support following months of conflict between his parents, doctors and the courts.
A relative told the Mirror: “It had been a really hard day as Alfie had been struggling to breathe from the early morning.
“He picked up and we thought everything was going to be OK.
“But at around 1.30am we got a call telling us to get back to the hospital.”
Balloons could be seen drifting over the hospital, where Alfie Evans has been in care since December 2016
They told how Tom “was blowing and blowing and blowing” but in the end it wasn’t enough to save the tragic youngster.
Tom and Alfie’s mum Kate James held 23-month-old Alfie in their arms as he passed away at 2.30am on Saturday in Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children's Hospital.
The shattered couple then reportedly fell asleep at his side as they spent a final few hours with him.
Outside the hospital, a tearful crowd sang You'll Never Walk Alone and released blue and purple heart-shaped inflatables into the sky.
Devastated Tom shared his passing with the world, writing on the Alfie's Army support group: "My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings at 02:30… absolutely heartbroken… I LOVE YOU MY GUY".
Alfie's mum Kate James wrote: "Our baby boy grew his wings tonight at 2.30 am. We are heart broken. Thankyou everyone for all your support".
Family friend Laura McKenzie said: “Tom and Kate really appreciate everyone coming and showing their love.
“The whole world showed how much Alfie was loved and we’ll never, ever, ever forget him or his name. No one will.”
How brave Alfie battled his illness
9 May 2016 – Alfie is born in Liverpool to parents Tom Evans and Kate James.
14 December 2016 – Alfie is taken to Alder Hey Children's Hospital after suffering seizures. He will spend the next 12 months there.
11 December 2017 – The hospital and family disagree over Alfie's treatment, with his parents saying that the hospital applied to the High Court to remove parental rights and withdraw ventilation.
19 December 2017 – The High Court case begins with Mr Justice Hayden saying he will make a decision on what is best for Alfie.
1 February 2018 – A hearing begins at the High Court in Liverpool in which lawyers acting for the hospital claim further treatment for Alfie is unkind and inhumane.
2 February 2018 – One of Alfie's doctors tells the judge there is "no hope" for the youngster, who is in a semi-vegetative state from a degenerative neurological condition doctors have not been able to definitively diagnose.
20 February 2018 – Mr Justice Hayden rules in favour of the hospital and accepts medical evidence that further treatment would be futile.
1 March 2018 – Court of Appeal judges in London refuse more time for Tom and Kate.
6 March 2018 – Three Court of Appeal judges uphold the decision of Mr Justice Hayden.
20 March 2018 – Supreme Court justices refuse the couple permission to mount another appeal.
28 March 2018 – The European Court of Human Rights also rejects a request from the family to intervene.
11 April 2018 – High Court judge endorses an end-of life care plan.
16 April 2018 – Alfie's parents argue he is being wrongly "detained" at Alder Hey and make a habeas corpus application. Judges at the Court of Appeal in London rule against them.
18 April 2018 – Mr Evans flies to Rome and meets with Pope Francis.
20 April 2018 – The Supreme Court rules against Alfie's parents for a second time.
23 April 2018 – The ECHR rejects a last-ditch appeal. Supporters storm the hospital. Alfie is granted Italian citizenship. His life support is turned off at 9.17pm.
24 April 2018 – Alfie is still breathing on his own and has had oxygen and water, his father tells supporters.
25 April 2018 – Alfie's parents lose their appeal to take the tot to Italy for further treatment.
26 April 2018– Supporters of Alfie hold a candlelit vigil for the child at the Vatican as his father calls for demonstrations outside the hospital to end
28 April 2018 – Alfie dies five days after doctors turn off his ventilator
A woman leaves some flowers on a makeshift memorial to Alfie outside Alder Hey Children's Hospital
Floral tributes and balloons were also left outside the doors of Alder Hey, which some of Alfie’s Army had tried to storm last week.
One card left by charity fundraiser and local celebrity Speedy Mick read: “Rest in peace, little Blue Nose. You shone brighter than the sun.”
Another said: “Alfie you stole the heart of the world. We love you and will always fight for you. Forever in our hearts.”
Tom Evans said he believed his son could live for years if he was allowed to go homeAlder Hey Children's Hospital released a statement offering their "heartfelt sympathy" to Alfie's family while adding that their "thoughts are with them" after a "devastating journey."
A spokesman said: “All of us feel deeply for Alfie, Kate, Tom and his whole family and our thoughts are with them.
“This has been a devastating journey for them and we would ask that their privacy and that of staff at Alder Hey is respected.”
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