Dad who sang to dying infant son thanks mourners

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Chris Picco father sings blackbird to dying newborn
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Dad who sang to dying infant son thanks mourners
Chris and Ashley Picco in a recent picture. (YouCaring.com)
Chris Picco singing Blackbird to his son, Lennon James Picco, who was delivered by emergency C-section at 24 weeks when Chris' wife Ashley unexpectedly and tragically passed away in her sleep. Lennon's lack of movement and brain activity was a constant concern for the doctors and nurses at Loma Linda University Hospital, where he received the absolute best care available. During the pregnancy, Ashley would often feel Lennon moving to music so Chris asked if he could bring his guitar into the NICU and play for Lennon, which he did for several hours during the last days of Lennon's precious life. One day after filming this, Lennon went to sleep in his daddy's arms. For more information please visit: http://www.piccomemorial.com To donate to a Memorial Fund to help with medical bills and associated expenses, please visit: http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/ashley-picco-memorial-fund/260229# © Chris Picco 2014 ALL MEDIA INQUIRES, PLEASE CONTACT: Brett Walls • brett.walls@gardenpediatrics.com • 909-647-7167
The happy couple met while volunteering at Ground Zero in the months after the 9/11 terror attacks. (YouCaring.com)
The expectant mother and father eagerly awaiting their newborn son. (YouCaring)
Lennon Picco shortly after birth. (YouCaring.com)
Chris Picco referred to his deceased wife as his best friend. (YouCaring.com)
Lennon Picco was delivered via an emergency C-section that claimed his mother's life. (YouCaring.com)
Chris Picco looks in on Lennon after he was born only 24 weeks - six months - into what should have been a nine month pregnancy. (YouCaring.com)
Chris Picco gently kisses the newborn's tiny toes. (YouCaring)
Chris Picco looks in on the baby with an unidentified woman. (YouCaring.com)
Chris Picco gently kisses his newborn boy. (YouCaring.com)
Lennon Picco's tiny had shown holding his father's. (YouCaring.com)
Chris Picco hold his son Lennon; the boy died after only four days of life. (YouCaring.com)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A grieving father who sang the Beatles' ballad "Blackbird" as his infant son clung to life told mourners that he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of prayers and support after a video of the tender moment gained widespread Internet attention.

Chris Picco said Saturday at a memorial service for his wife, Ashley, and their son, Lennon, that he didn't have enough words to express his gratitude to those who reached out to him, including strangers apparently touched by his story.

They died this past week after Ashley became ill while pregnant and Lennon was delivered prematurely.

"I could never articulate how much your support and your strength, and your prayers, and your emails and your Facebook messages and your text messages ... I don't even know how any of you got my number but there's been a lot of `thank you,'" he said in an emotional address that drew laughter and tears.

"There have been so many people that have reached out and shared their pain: excruciating pain, tremendous loss. And my heart just goes out," he added.

The service in the Los Angeles suburb of Loma Linda was webcast live - a fitting continuation to a week where the song and other images Picco posted of himself with his wife and their son drew an outpouring of grief and prayers to his Facebook page, YouTube and other sites.

Picco and his 30-year-old wife were anticipating their son's birth in February when she suddenly became ill. Picco said doctors delivered Lennon by emergency C-section after Ashley died in her sleep Saturday.

The boy was born 16 weeks premature. He died Wednesday.

The couple, married in 2007, met in New York when both were volunteers helping firefighters after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

After his wife's death, Picco sat with his son almost constantly, playing guitar, singing and crying. A friend captured the video of him doing "Blackbird." In it, he softly urges Lennon to "take these broken wings and learn to fly." The boy's beating heart can be heard in the background.

Picco said the story of how he and his wife met shows that something good came out of a tragic event.

"So from this unspeakable tragedy ... I want good to come out of this," he said.

Friends and family members said Ashley, a preschool teacher turned pediatric nurse, was a nurturing soul who would have been a good mother. They noted that Lennon touched many lives during his very short life.

"If you measure a life by the power of connection, Lennon lived more than most of us have," said Tim Gillespie, a speaker at the service.

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