Wyatt Gillette
Sgt Jeremiah Gillette walks with his son Wyatt Gillette after he was made an honorary marineMarine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego/Facebook

An eight-year-old boy who was diagnosed with a rare terminal disease has died one day after being made an honorary US Marine. Wyatt Gillette, who suffered from the genetic disease Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome, which causes seizures and kidney failure, was given Eagle, Globe and Anchor as well as a smart salute at California's Camp Pendleton on 30 July.

Wyatt became only the 96th person to receive the honour since the programme began in 1992 and it is only bestowed to a few people each year.

Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller agreed to hand the boy the honour following an online petition and uploaded photos to his Twitter account showing him at the ceremony.

Wyatt's father, Jeremiah Gillette confirmed the boy died on the morning of 31 July and was "peaceful and pain-free". He added: "Thank you all so much for letting Wyatt into your hearts, and allowing him to make you smile, it was his favourite thing to do."

The family are asking those who want to help to contribute to a fundraising page set up for Wyatt, which so far has already raised more than $12,000 (£9,000).

Gillete, a drill instructor with 2nd Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, attended the ceremony with Wyatt and his wife Felisha.

He told the crowd: "Everything that everyone has done for us has been amazing," reported Today. "With everything going on around the world today and especially in our country, this is kind of a breath of fresh air. It's restored my faith in humanity, and what our country stands for."

Wyatt gillette
Wyatt was honoured with a formal ceremony Saturday at Camp Pendleton near San Diego supported by his mother Felisha Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego/Facebook