THE father of a 12-year-old boy in a coma suffered "a heart attack or stroke" shortly before judges ruled his son's life support can be switched off.

Archie Battersbee suffered "catastrophic" brain damage three months ago and has not regained consciousness since.

He is thought to have been taking part in a social media challenge at his home in Southend, Essex, in April.

Earlier this month, the High Court agreed with doctors at the Royal London ­Hospital that further treatment was “futile”.

His parents Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee today lost their appeal to overrule the decision to end his life support in a devastating blow to their months-long legal fight.

Shortly before the decision was made, a lawyer told the judges Archie's dad had been rushed to hospital.

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Paul may have suffered a heart attack or a stroke, judges were told.

The family's lawyer asked them to delay their ruling and said Hollie thought her son had been trying to breathe independently.

But the request for a delay was refused.

Archie has shown no "discernible" brain activity since the tragic accident, judge Mr Justice Hayden ruled.

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Medics believing he is "brain-stem dead".

Hollie and Paul earlier claimed the decision made by Mr Justice Hayden had "errors" and wanted another judge to look at the case.

Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the Family Division of the High Court, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson handled the appeal and heard arguments about what moves are in Archie Battersbee's best interests.

The today ruled that doctors can lawfully stop providing life-support treatment to Archie.

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Mr Justice Hayden described what happened to Archie as a "tragedy of immeasurable dimensions" in his ruling this month.

He said medical evidence was "compelling and unanimous" and painted a "bleak" picture.

Archie's parents – who are separated – said he made error.

Barrister Edward Devereux QC – who is leading the legal team for Archie's parents – argued that Mr Justice Hayden had not given "real or proper weight" to Archie's previously expressed wishes and religious beliefs.

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