A funeral service is underway to honour murdered 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe.
Thousands of mourners have turned out on Queensland's Sunshine Coast to honour Daniel, who went missing on a Christmas shopping trip on December 7, 2003.
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd is among the mourners, as well as dozens of SES workers who helped in the search for Daniel.
Thousands of others are gathered outside the church, wearing red to honour 13-year-old Daniel, who was wearing a red t-shirt when he went out nine years ago today and never came home.
Denise and Bruce Morcombe say the service will be a fitting tribute to their son and his short life - his loving, loyal nature, his strength, his love for animals and his talent for mischief.
Ahead of the service, the couple has shared some of their most precious memories of Daniel and his legacy.
'All of us have gained strength from Daniel,' Mr Morcombe told The Courier-Mail.
'I think the Australian public have taken and embraced that little boy because of his eyes and his smile. In every photo they pick up, there's that happy kid.
'They have always wondered what happened to that boy in the red t-shirt.'
Mrs Morcombe spoke of the last present he gave her before he disappeared.
'In Year 9, Daniel made a wooden box at school and gave it to me,' she told the newspaper.
'One day he said: 'Are you going to use it?'
'I said: 'Yes, one day I'll put some special things in it.'
'Little did I know. It's now filled with his special things.'
They include drawings, letters and a toy motocross bike.
Mr Morcombe spoke of having to choose a casket for his son.
'It's still bad preparing a funeral for an elderly parent but you know that's part of life's cycle,' he said.
'For a kid, it's not the way it should be.'
A committal hearing for Brett Peter Cowan, the man accused of murdering Daniel, is due to resume in February.
Witnesses have told the first part of the hearing they saw a man approaching Daniel under the Kiel Mountain Road overpass on the Sunshine Coast they day he disappeared.