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Family: Niko Dinovo, severely burned in a 2016 crash, has passed away

Family: Niko Dinovo has passed away due to injuries sustained in a 2016 crash

17 year old Niko Dinovo fought for 508 days.

His family announced that together, they sent him home to God surrounded by love at 5:47 p.m. Monday evening.

In a text message, Niko's Aunt tells CBS6 that Monday was "far the most difficult day yet for my family as we all gathered around Our Champ."

She writes "He made us fearless .. so we are not afraid. Our Trust In God and knowing He has Big Plans for Niko in Heaven helped get us through today. The amount of love and support we felt from Home truly saved us .. we love you all and will be bringing our boy home ."

Niko endured countless surgeries and skin grafts at Westchester's burn unit.

The teen suffered burns to about 95% of his body in a horrific car crash back in 2016.

Niko was a passenger, his friend Michael Carr was behind the wheel when he crashed outside Blessings Tavern and the car went up in flames.

Niko, then only 16 years old, was given a one percent chance of survival.

But day after day, he held on.

The teen was constantly surrounded by love and support from his family who spent most of the last 508 days right at his bedside.

CBS6 visited Niko's family in Westchester. His older brother Michael told how he would cheer Niko on.

"I walk in Niko's room and I say let's go champ."

Michael said "he gives me a little fist bump every time I do it. three fist bumps. Let's go champ."

Niko's mother, Alicia, told how her son was a fighter with a heart of gold.

"Niko is 16, tough on the outside, but he's got the biggest heart."

Even Niko's nurses, who gave him around the clock care, were amazed by his strength and courage, showing what it means to be Niko Strong.

"I've seen a child, who is an incredible fighter, communicate his will to live to all of us," said Bonnie Scianna.

Niko touched hearts around the country.

The Dallas Cowboys, his favorite team, wore pray for Niko bracelets during one of their games.

At home, the Superintendent at South Colonie where Niko went to school issued a statement reading:

"We are very saddened by the death of our Colonie Central High School student and Garnet Raider Niko Dinovo. Our student body has actively supported his recovery for these many months. This has been a long and difficult time for his family and his friends at our high school. We will have counselors available at the high school in the coming days to help our students and staff cope with their grief. Our prayers go out to his family."

In Loudonville, the restaurant Niko's family established in his honor is closed for now.

A sign on the door lets customers know it's due to this hardntime.

The deli is named after Niko and features a specialty called "The Champ," which is fitting, because for so many, he was and always will be, a champion.

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The family tells CBS6 that Niko Dinovo,the teen who was fighting to recover after a crash that left him severely burned, has passed away.

Back in October 28th, 2016, Niko, then 16, was a passenger in a vehicle that crashed into a Colonie bar.

Niko was burned over 95% percent of his body. His friend, Michael Carr who was 18 at the time, was driving the vehicle.

Carr told the judge he'd had one mixed drink and had smoked marijuana when he crashed into two other vehicles and into Blessings Tavern in Colonie.

In court, Carr tearfully apologized, saying he loved Niko and thinks about him every day, offering condolences to Niko's family.

He was then sentenced to 6 years in prison.

Since the crash, there had been dozens of fundraisers for Niko as support from the community poured in. He was even named prom king that the family called a beautiful gesture by students.

MORE: Niko’s recovery: Family shares his road to recovery

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