Natalie Murphy dies after cancer battle
A courageous Auckland mum who captured the hearts of New Zealanders has lost her battle with cancer.
After learning she had just weeks to live Natalie Murphy, 35, decided to bring forward plans to renew her wedding vows with her husband of 10 years, Greg.
She had been fighting cancer since she discovered a lump in her breast the day before she gave birth two years ago.
Natalie and Greg had planned to renew their vows in a ceremony on New Year's Day at Long Bay.
She had also been putting together mementoes and instructions for the couple's two-year-old son Jackson.
But in a post on Natalie's Facebook page today Greg told supporters her battle with breast cancer had come to an end.
"While surrounded by the people she loved the most, she passed peacefully from this world into the next," he said.
"Jackson and I are surrounded by close family and are doing our best to cope during this difficult time."
Greg's post has been followed by tributes from friends and supporters of the Mairangi Bay woman.
"Today we lost a courageous fighter and an inspirational woman. Rest in Peace Natalie Murphy," one tribute said.
Adam Bennett said he had just left a message on Natalie's phone earlier that morning, unaware of the news.
"So sad to hear that you have gone from this world already but I know everyone will see you again one day soon."
Gabrielle Purvis said she had talked to "sweet Nat" the previous day and could hear the pain in her voice.
Many others remembered Natalie's strength, courage and positivity in the face of her illness.
Greg and Natalie had planned to renew their vows in March but earlier this month doctors told her she had between two to eight weeks to live.
Natalie had turned to Facebook to seek assistance to pay for the ceremony, saying she did not want to financially burden Greg and Jackson.
Last week she received $18,000 in cash and offers of help from Crawford Wines, Orange Group catering and the Pulman Hotel, as well as strangers who had read her story.
Music, the wedding dress, a cake and a marquee had also been donated.
She had said she was "blown away" by the generosity shown by complete strangers.
"No matter when that last breath comes, I know it will be filled with love and happiness and that makes me one very lucky woman."
Aware son Jackson is too young to have memories of her, Natalie wrote her son letters, prepared scrapbooks and made videos of the pair cuddling and her singing to him.
"I want him to remember that his mum adored him and fought every day for him and that he was a huge part of my ability to get through this. He's the one who got me out of bed and kept me smiling because I always knew that no matter what, I didn't want Jackson to see me suffer or see me sick."
She had also made decisions with Greg about how Jackson will be raised.
He will pay for half of his first car with Greg picking up the rest. If he chooses to go to university he will pay his own way, though with the carrot that Greg will reimburse him if he passes.
Speaking to Auckland Now less than two weeks ago Natalie said she was finally coming to accept her cancer battle was coming to an end.
She said she had spent a long time feeling angry the life she had worked so hard for was being "ripped away".
Greg had been concerned his wife would die angry and told her she would some how have to find peace in what she was going through - something she said she came to terms with about a month ago.
"I can guarantee you that if I died tonight I would die an extremely happy woman," she said.
She also drew strength from Jackson but said leaving him behind was the "hardest thing in the world."
Natalie was upset Greg would be heartbroken by her death and said he did not deserve to be a single dad.