"When I walked in, he was laying there so weak, it looked like he was ready to fall asleep," Schmitt-Matzen told the news outlet. "I sat down on his bed and asked, 'Say, what's this I hear about you're going to miss Christmas? There's no way you can miss Christmas! You're my No. 1 elf!'"
"He looked up and said, 'I am?' I said 'Sure.'"
Schmitt-Matzen told USA Today that he watched him open the present and smile before he lay back down.
"'They say I'm going to die,' he told me. 'How can I tell when I get to where I'm going?' I said, 'Can you do me a big favor?' He said 'Sure!' 'When you get there, you tell them you're Santa's No. 1 elf and I know they'll let you in.' He said, 'They will?' I said, 'Sure.'"
"He kind of sat up, and gave me a big hug and asked one more question: 'Santa can you help me?' I wrapped my arms around him. Before I could say anything, he died right there. I let him stay, just kept hugging and holding on to him," Schmitt-Matzen told USA Today.
The boy's death left Schmitt-Matzen questioning whether he could continue donning the signature white beard and red suit, but he returned for other sick children and saw the effect it had on them.
"When I saw all those children laughing, it brought me back into the fold. It made me realize the role I have to play. For them and for me," he told USA Today.