‘NICU grandpa’ who went viral for comforting newborns dies from pancreatic cancer

National News

ATLANTA, Ga. (WJW) — A man known as the “NICU Grandpa” who comforted newborns for 15 years at an Atlanta hospital has passed away.

David Deutchman died Saturday, two and a half weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, TODAY reported. He was 86.

Deutchman went viral a few years ago for cuddling babies who couldn’t be with their parents at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

His daughter, Susan Lilly, told TODAY that he began volunteering after retiring from a career in marketing.

“The emotional support he was able to provide for primarily mothers, but also many of the fathers and extended family members, brothers, sisters, grandmas, grandpas, (was important). He was almost like a clergy member or a social worker,” Lilly said. “Even the nurses confided in him.”

Deutchman previously told WXIA that, “It’s been wonderful because it gives me something to do that has meaning to it. Some of my guy friends, they ask me what I do here. And I say, ‘Well, I hold babies. I get puked on, I get peed on,’ and they say, ‘Why would you do that?!’ Some people just don’t understand the kind of reward you would get from holding a baby like this.”

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