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Super-Gav, Winona's pint-sized superhero, dies of neurological disorder

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A little boy named Gavin, who captured the hearts of people in his hometown of Winona - and indeed across Minnesota - has lost his two-year battle with a rare genetic disorder.

Gavin Quimby died early Tuesday morning surrounded by his family, the Winona Daily News reports. He was 5 years old.

We first heard about this little guy in June of last year when he became superhero for a day. Wearing a cape and Superman t-shirt, "Super-Gav" saved the city of Winona from all sorts of disasters.

He scored the winning touchdown for the Winona Winhawks, put out a fire at an elementary school, and stopped a man from stealing his daycare provider’s purse.

At a presentation at City Hall, Mayor Mark Peterson proclaimed June 19 “Super-Gav Day," and rewarded Gavin with a key to the city.

Here's video of his exploits:

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Unfortunately, Gavin's superpowers could not fight off the neurological disorder, metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD), that was robbing him of his brain function.

There is no cure for the disease and most children with the infantile form of it die by age 5.

According to the Winona Daily News, Gavin has been undergoing various treatments for months, including chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, in an attempt to slow the progression of the disease. But nothing was working.

So his parents, Nick and Shanna, decided two weeks ago to stop treatments and bring him home for his last days.

His parents chronicled Gavin's life with his disease on Facebook, and Shanna posted the news of his passing Tuesday morning.

https://www.facebook.com/gavinflyingforacure/posts/871685046258408

Shanna, Nick and their daughter Alli launched a campaign months ago to have MLD added to the list of conditions that babies are screened for shortly after they're born. They say early detection would give children a better chance of survival.

The Daily News notes that state Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, introduced a measure in the Legislature last session - called the Super Gav Act - to do just that.

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