5-year-old Joel Green, the inspiration for video game about cancer, passes away

"Joel took his last breath at 1:52 a.m.," his father writes.

Five-year-old Joel Green, whose terminal cancer is the focus of upcoming game That Dragon, Cancer, passed away this morning. "Joel took his last breath at 1:52 a.m.," his father Ryan Green wrote on his website today.

That Dragon, Cancer tells the story of the challenges Ryan and his wife Amy faced during Joel's life. It will touch on the trials of the experience, as well as the lighter, more hopeful moments. Green is working on the game with his friend Josh Larson.

Amy Green shared an update about Joel's condition last night on a blog dedicated to his life. She wrote that Joel was recently taken to a Children's Hospital in San Francisco where he was receiving treatment. She was told he had a week to live.

That Dragon, Cancer is expected to launch this year exclusively on Ouya, though it is unclear how Joel's passing will affect the project. For more on the game, check out the official That Dragon, Cancer website.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
That Dragon, Cancer

That Dragon, Cancer

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157 comments
Algearond
Algearond

Horrible, I hope the family can draw strength from this, the child is with God and his angels now, in a perfect place.

starjay009
starjay009

How cruel is life ?! Doesn't this baby deserve a longer life in such a huge world ? RIP little one, you are in a much better place. *tears* 

LuzerGS
LuzerGS

Rest in Peace. 

My condolences to the Green family.

blackace
blackace

So sad. I pray for Ryan & Amy Green to get through these hard times. No one should lose their child like this. R.I.P. Joel.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

Its interesting to see that when confronted to death no one really believes in life-after-death, immortality, the heavens. If we did they're wouldn't be any sorrows but only joy. But, whatever stories we tell ourselves, we know deep down that every death is a loss.

torrne667
torrne667

Poor little boy :(   No justice in the world when this happens and i see idiots walking around being violent and causing misery for no reason at all except that "they are bored"..i would trade them all in for a youngster who has never had the chance to walk the path..

glacius_x
glacius_x

R.I.P. little one. I am actually interested in the game. Unfortunately I won't see it due to the platform it is on.

10854
10854

I'm sure this game will be infused with meaning. Even playing it knowing it's history will be a an interesting experience. Hope this game still reaches completion. I will definitely purchase it.

Samparksh
Samparksh

Things like these sadden me.R.I.P buddy.

grognard66
grognard66

So tragic.  How inspiring that his father is sharing such a painful experience with the skills he has (making a video game).  It's hard to imagine the courage and bravery to share such a personal pain and loss with the world.  My heart and thoughts go out to the family. 


In the wise words of Wil Wheaton, "F**k cancer".

cyborgninja92
cyborgninja92

I have a son who is almost 3 months old, I could not imagine the pain and grief these poor parents could possibly feel. Rest in peace Brave little man.

TimberWolf_CLT
TimberWolf_CLT

I truly wish that some folks would have a little more decorum.  You have every right to bring up concerns/conspiracies.  But how about we wait a day?

June-GS
June-GS

Sigh... This is why we should really stop all the stupid things we do in the world and just concentrate all our resources on finding a cure. If not for our own sakes, then for our loved ones.

Maui_Lion
Maui_Lion

That poor child.  It's so sad all they had to go through, all -he- had to go through at such a young age.  Rest in peace little one.

13wormwood13
13wormwood13

My brother passed of a brain tumor three years ago, and my mother has one now. it's hell constantly wondering and waiting if, or when something is going to happen to the person with the cancer. That's why I couldn't imagine how it would be to have a child that young and them have cancer. I don't know how the family would move forward after something like that, but I'm definitely supporting this game and I support the family.  

kovaras1984
kovaras1984

Please do a story on this again when the game launches, i would like to buy a copy to show this poor family some support. Really sad heartbreaking story... Best wishes to his family.

ulgk
ulgk

Must have been terrible to be Joel parents.

drknessfeeds
drknessfeeds

This is just so wrong, my 4 year old son passed away in 05', really breaks my heart.

blamix99
blamix99

This really breakes my heart, RIP little one

Harbinger_CR
Harbinger_CR

This is really sad, R.I.P. little champion, I will pray for his family. I hope they can get passed this well.

Shmiity
Shmiity

Everyone buy a copy. It would be a nice community effort. Especially if this goes on Steam or something.

billlabowski
billlabowski

And to think, there are scientists and money available for more cancer research, but the pharmaceutical companies wouldn't stand by a cancer cure-all drug, nope. More profitable just to bleed the dying. This child could've grown up to do wonderful things, maybe create award winning games. It's more sad when a child dies of something so terrible. To hell with cancer.

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

This is sad. I know how it feels to loose a loved one myself. My mom died when I was a kid. While I don't plan to get an OUYA because of  the credit card requirement to use it and I don't have one, I will wish his father success. If it shows up on Steam, I'll look into buying it.

wyan_
wyan_

God that is so sad. I feel so sorry for the little boy and everyone who loved him. ;(

xeoneex66
xeoneex66

Condolences to the family...  This angers me, I hear sick stories about people committing atrocious crimes and good people are dying young.  What a world we live in *sigh*

TheGreatOldOne
TheGreatOldOne

Condolences to Joel's family and loved ones. Your little angel will always be a hero.


On a side note: judging from last year's award results, I'm sure Gamespot editors will give the upcoming Joel game a nomination for GOTY. : )

feared4power
feared4power

When I die I want to be reincarnated into a buffalo/swordfish/tiger/monkey/racoon. R.I.P little dude

Faye_Tallity
Faye_Tallity

Oh, this is sad. Rest in peace little warrior. I'll buy your game, to support your family. Children should never die, or suffer. Ever. He can't hurt anymore, but it's not fair, cause his family is. My heart & prayers go out to his devastated family, & friends. </3 Godspeed.

cjtopspin
cjtopspin

....Jesus.

 Nothing like a little perspective to brighten up the day.

DrKill09
DrKill09

20 years ago, five year olds didn't get cancer.


They banned smoking in public places, so you can't even blame that now.


The REAL culprit is fluoride in the water, cell phones, and GMOs in the food.

PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

@June-GS what about all the existing causes from processed food to traffic pollutions to radiation from nuclear and all the other stuff

ExtremePhobia
ExtremePhobia

@Faye_Tallity  I intend to buy it and play it. I don't always have a lot of time for games but some games are too important to let pass. This is certainly one of them and I'll be glad to be a part of it, even if in a small way.

Faye_Tallity
Faye_Tallity

@cjtopspin  You have a problem, with someone else's kid dying?! Or the fact that this is reported, by a videogame site? If this story is an inconvenience to you (more than the parents who lost their CHILD) then don't come here & be a troll. You don't come to a story of a 5 year old dying of cancer, & expect to "brighten your day" Go to the next story, instead, & keep your rose colored glasses on.  

BigAl519
BigAl519

@DrKill09  You must be very stupid to actually think that. 20 year ago medicine was slower and ultimately not as capable of detecting cancer. It doesn't suddenly mean it didn't exist moron. 


I suppose that you believe skin cancer's also new even though the sun has been shining on humans since the dawn of our existence yet only recently was discovered that it was a source.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@DrKill09  

Leave it to the likes of you to take such an occurrence as the opportunity to indulge in some fear-mongering. :|

June-GS
June-GS

@PrpleTrtleBuBumWell hello, obviously, when I said "cure​​", I meant every SOLUTION that can defeat the cancer menace. Including, but not limited to, preventing those likely causes​​ that you mentioned.​ ​ We're not just talking about so-called "wonder drugs" here, of course.  :)

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@MonocleOwl

I am not sure whether you support this (yet another) rant against "Big Pharma" or you are using that citation as a counter-point.

I have looked at that link, and there was a remark by one of the sources for that film, which mentioned that the film was metaphorically painting corporations with a huge brush.

cjtopspin
cjtopspin

@Faye_Tallity @cjtopspinWoah there internet warrior.  I definitely have a problem with a 5 year old dying from cancer...and I certainly didn't expect this on a video game website.  The the perspective it lends us all helps us appreciate what we currently have.  Unless I am somehow wrong in thinking that but honestly...I don't give a shit.  I'm not sure that really qualifies me as a troll but hell...people seem to throw that flag out whenever they disagree with someone so that's on you.