KANSAS CITY -- The words came hard for Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, as he stood in front of reporters on Thursday and tried to make meaning of the death of his 7-year-old friend, Noah Wilson, from Olathe, Kan.
Fans from all over the country learned of Noah's courageous battle against bone cancer during last year's Royals' playoff run -- a fight that he appeared to be winning in mid-June when he was considered cancer-free. But recently, his family learned he had leukemia.
Noah enjoyed celebrating his mother's birthday last Friday, but on Saturday, he experienced dizziness. He slipped into unconsciousness on Monday and died on Tuesday.
"Hearing the news, him finally beating it, and then the stuff came back up," Hosmer said, "it's hard as a friend looking in and hearing stuff, and hearing the news. I can't imagine what his family is going through. But they're strong people and they know he's in a better place. They know he's not suffering. He's not going through anymore treatment or battles with cancer, so he's in a good place.
"It's just a terrible situation. Obviously, something that ... yeah, it's something that I really don't want to talk about to be honest with you."
Noah had been a huge Royals fan and Hosmer was his favorite player. He became engulfed in the magical October playoff run and watched intensely from his hospital bed. Noah exchanged text messages and videos with Hosmer throughout.
A movement was started to get Noah tickets to a Royals playoff game, and the movement reached MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre. Torre invited the whole family to a game.
Little Noah also became famous for starting a campaign that raised more than $7,000 to make colorful Band-Aids for the children at his hospital, as he battled his devastating disease.
News of Noah's passing saddened those throughout the Royals' organization.
The Royals tweeted: "Our hearts are broken. Thoughts and prayers to the family of our bravest little Royals fan."
Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.