DAVID Cameron has made a shock return to frontline politics after leaving No.10 Downing Street in 2016, becoming the new Foreign Secretary on November 13, 2023.

In his personal life he has been open about the death of his son Ivan, who was diagnosed with an extremely rare neurological disorder, Ohtahara syndrome.

Who was David Cameron's son Ivan?

David Cameron and his wife Samantha welcomed their son Ivan in 2002, but saw he was quickly declining weight when he was only a couple of weeks old.

He was making jerky movements and, after tests, was later diagnosed with Ohtahara syndrome, which is a very rare epilepsy syndrome characterised by seizures.

The former Prime Minister said the condition is was so rare that “there was barely a diagnosis – yet alone a cure”.

He revealed in The Times how Ivan underwent numerous, often painful, tests before a diagnosis was made, and he was given up to 20 different drugs each day.

Ivan was unable to move his limbs or speak, and his only self-conscious movements were to smile and raise his eyebrows.

When did David Cameron's son die?

Ivan passed away on a February night in 2009, aged just six-years-old.

According to the former PM's book For The Record, Samantha took Ivan to hospital while Cameron remained at home with the other children, before deciding to make a dash to the hospital himself.

He said by the time he arrived the team were trying to resuscitate his son, but he had gone.

A statement posted on the Conservative party's website said: "David and Samantha are grateful for all the warm messages of support and condolence that they have received."

It was asked that people wishing to pay their respects could send a donation to one of five charities: Mencap, Friends of Jack Tizard School, Friends of St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, Helen & Douglas House, Twickenham, and Shooting Star children's hospice.

The Camerons also have two daughters, Nancy and Florence, and a son called Arthur Elwen.

What is Ohtahara syndrome?

Ohtahara syndrome is rare epileptic condition where seizures typically start before three months of age.

It affects around one in 500 epileptic sufferers and is caused by an underlying structural brain abnormality.

This can be caused by brain damage before and around the time of birth, or it can be passed on in the genes.

Babies can suffer jerking limbs or spasms, and doctors will typically monitor any seizures before making a diagnosis.

The seizures are often resistant to medicine, and babies will often have little developmental progress.

Many sufferers die before the age of two from complications such as repeated chest infections.

Those who survive are typically severely disabled and will experience continued seizures even with treatment.

What did David Cameron write in his new book?

In his new memoir For The Record, Cameron expressed his love for his children, saying he was particularly proud of Nancy and Elwen.

He wrote: “Nancy and Elwen had been so engaged in the campaign, and so sweet and supportive to me.

“I knew they knew I was stressed, because they’d been hugging me more than usual.

“Nancy had been taking my ‘Conservative in’ campaign badges and giving them to her friends.”

Mr Cameron also reveals how son Elwen gave a brilliant account of himself in a school debate — on the morning his dad revealed he was leaving No 10.



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He writes: “On the morning I gave my resignation speech outside No 10, Elwen was in a school project in which they would act out the UN having a debate on human rights.

“They had been rehearsing, with a German girl in his class playing Angela Merkel, an American boy playing Barack Obama and Elwen playing me.

“The teachers asked him that morning if he wanted to go ahead, or if it would be too upsetting, given what had just happened. ‘I want to do it for my dad’, he replied. His performance apparently had the watching parents in tears.”

And in an emotional interview with ITV's Tom Bradby on September 16, 2019, Cameron revealed Ivan "suffered so much".

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