Tim Tebow celebrated fiancee Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters' birthday on Friday, almost two months after the death of Nel-Peters' sister Franje. The 13-year-old died in early May, and was diagnosed with cerebellar agenesis. Tebow previously said he met Nel-Peters through Franje.
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Nel-Peters, a South African beauty queen who won Miss Universe 2017, turned 24 on Friday. To mark the occasion, Tebow, 31, shared a beautiful photo of Nel-Peters and a heartwarming message on Instagram.
"Happy Birthday, [Nel-Peters]," the minor league baseball player wrote. "I love getting the chance to celebrate you, but one day is not enough. I will celebrate you forever. I love you more than I thought possible, but I know I’ll love you even more tomorrow! Thank you for who you are and the inspiration you are to me and so many. Happy Birthday my angel. I love you!"
Tebow and Nel-Peters were in mourning last month after she announced the death of her sister on May 4. Nel-Peters shared a few photos of Franje on her Instagram page, along with a quote from Romans reading "You are loved forever."
"My little Princess, Angel on Earth, biggest joy and baby sister, Franje, passed away earlier today," Nel-Peters wrote at the time. "Our hearts are aching beyond measure but I am grateful knowing she’s forever relieved of the pain she experienced on earth. She’s laughing, running and playing in heaven just like we always hoped she would on earth. She’s free! Thank you for all your prayers, love and support."
Tebow also shared a photo of himself with Nel-Peters and Franje on Instagram.
"Our loss but [heaven's] gain. So grateful for the hope we have of being reunited with the ones we love through our Heavenly Father. Mr & Mrs Peters and [Nel-Peters] we are praying for you and love you so much," Tebow wrote.
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According to The South African, Franje was born without a cerebellum, which made it difficult for her to walk, talk and develop. Cerebellar agenesis is described as an "extremely rare condition" and its exact cause is unknown, the National Organization for Rare Disorders notes. It is also not known how prevalent the condition is.
Tebow and Nel-Peters announced their engagement in January. During an appearance on the Today Show, Tebow said he met Nel-Peters after inviting her to Night to Shine, an event that is part of his Tim Tebow Foundation.
"Her sister has special needs, so we invited them to Night to Shine in South Africa,'' Tebow said. "We kind of met and started talking through that and haven't stopped."
Tebow is best known for his time as a college football star, winning the BCS National Championship in 2006 and 2008 at Florida. He also played for the Denver Broncos and New York Jets in the NFL before signing a minor league contract with the MLB's New York Mets to try his hand at baseball. He is now playing for the Syracuse Mets, the Mets' AAA affiliate.
Photo credit: Instagram/Tim Tebow