British star Benedict Cumberbatch is known for his stellar acting, his killer impressions and his unique photobombs. But none of that is happening in this story, and it’s his empathy that gets top billing, as the Dr. Strange star reached out to the family of a Sherlock superfan who sadly passed away at the age of 14.

U.K. resident Eve Shepherd died on February 1 after a life full of health complications. But despite a premature birth and the likelihood that she wouldn’t make it through her first 24 hours of life, Eve defied the odds and survived time and again through the 200+ surgeries she had to go through. Her ability to push on is ridiculously admirable, and it only slightly overshadows her love for the Emmy-winning British mystery series Sherlock, which drew the attention of Cumberbatch. Here was his heartfelt message, according to the Warrington Guardian.
I send my deepest sympathies to Eve’s family. To lose someone so young who fought for her health all her life must be beyond endurance. I hope they can take solace from the fact that she was clearly much loved and her support of our show is hugely appreciated and shall be remembered. I wish I would be there but sadly am filming the show she loved. God rest her soul.

With all my love and sympathies, Benedict xxx

Dealing with the death of a loved one is never an easy or painless task, even more so when it’s a child. But Eve’s parents Mark and Jane were still appreciative of Cumberbatch’s words, knowing how much their daughter adored him and his on-screen investigative style. They even played the series’ theme song as everyone left the church’s funeral proceedings, which alone would be enough to floor me with tears.

Here’s how her father Mark says Eve would have reacted to the attention given to her.
Eve would find this funny as she was a big TV and film fan. She would be giggling her head off at the thought she was in the newspaper. But she would have been happy about the letter from Benedict – she was a huge fan.

Several of the hundreds of mourners at Eve’s funeral wore Holmes-like deerstalker hats as a way of paying homage to her fandom. And then, everyone presumably solved a crime by noticing that someone’s fingernails were too short and that the way he or she pronounced the word “funeral” was extremely suspect.

As he said in the letter, Cumberbatch is currently filming the reportedly darker-than-usual Season 4 of Sherlock, which is set to premiere at some point in early 2016 with a feature-length special, followed by three regular episodes. We just wish Eve would be around to watch them.

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