WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- An 8-year-old boy who flew to the United States from Congo to have a facial tumor removed has died on Friday.
- The Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, which sponsored his operation, has announced the boy’s passing in a statement.
- Matadi Sela Petit suffered from a rare genetic reaction to anesthesia during surgery, leading to his death.
Matadi Sela Petit, an 8-year-old boy from Congo, had traveled to the United States in the hopes that his huge facial tumor will be removed. Unfortunately, the boy died after a rare genetic reaction to anesthesia during surgery occurred.
In a statement released on Saturday, the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, founded by the former NBA player, announced the boy’s passing.
“Despite the diligent efforts of his medical caregivers, Matadi did not recover and he passed away last night,” the Instagram statement said.
The Mutombo Foundation sponsored the boy’s trip to the U.S. Matadi arrived in Los Angeles on December 12 with his father, according to CNN affiliate KABC.
The Mutombo Foundation also said that the founder and director of the Osborne Head and Neck Institute, Dr. Ryan Osborne, performed the surgery.
“We are devastated by the loss of Matadi and our heart goes out to his father, his mother and the rest of his family, and all his old and new friends,” the foundation said in the statement.
The young boy’s memory “will inspire us to continue to develop efforts and partnerships to improve the lives of the children of the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” the foundation added.
Mutombo met Matadi in Congo, KABC reported. The boy had a cleft palate repair at the hospital the Mutombo Foundation built in the country. And because there were no specialists to remove the tumor growing on the left side of his face.
Born in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa, Mutombo created his foundation in 1997 with the mission to “improve the health, education, and quality of life of life for the people in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” according to the organization’s website.