David Beckham pays tribute after fundraiser Kirsty Howard dies aged 20


David Beckham has paid a touching personal tribute to "miracle girl" Kirsty Howard who has died aged 20, after being given just weeks to live at the age of four.

The global superstar said Kirsty was an "inspirational young lady" after she battled her rare heart condition throughout her life to raise millions for charity.

Kirsty captured the hearts of the nation with her determination, after she was the only British child - and one of only two worldwide - born with a back-to-front heart.

The former England captain and Manchester United star first met her when she was the mascot for England's crucial World Cup qualifier against Greece - holding her hand as she walked out onto the pitch with an oxygen tank in tow.

Beckham said later it was her bravery that gave him the inspiration to score a winner in the dying minutes of the vital game.

In a posting on his Instagram account, the father-of-four said: "Words cannot describe how amazing this young lady has been over the years.

"Kirsty has been defying doctors for many years and whilst doing that she has been raising millions of pounds for terminally ill children...

"I met Kirsty in 2002 when she became the nations and my good luck charm for the game against Greece, we also met the queen together in Manchester so you could say we have spent some amazing moments together over the years and it was an inspiration to meet such a brave young lady with so much drive for helping others..

"My love and thoughts go to Kirsty's parents and sisters as this inspirational young lady will be missed ... My heart and love goes to Kirsty for letting me be a small part of your world over the years.. Rest in peace."