Matadi Sela Petit, the 8-year old boy who was brought from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the United States a week ago to remove a massive tumor on his face has died.
Matadi died Friday night after complications from the surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to The Dikembe Mutombo Foundation.
The child was brought to the U.S. by Dikembe Mutombo, a former NBA star.
Matadi died after he suffered a “rare and unpredictable genetic reaction to anesthesia” during surgery, TMZ reported.
“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 Dikembe Mutombo Foundation said.
Days ago, TMZ reported that Matadi went into cardiac arrest during his surgery and was transferred to the ICU, but he did not recover from his bad reaction to the anesthesia.
“Matadi’s operation was led by Dr. Ryan Osborne from Cedars-Sinai. Dr. Osborne volunteered his services, after being inspired by the good work of Mutumbo. The family had been staying at the Ronald McDonald House since arriving in Los Angeles last week,” TMZ said.
The former NBA star flew Matadi to the U.S. a week ago for free surgery in hopes of removing the life-threatening, massive tumor on his face.
Mutombo had disclosed that the boy had been shunned in society — pulled out of school and secluded to his home — because of his condition, so he wanted to help him out.
His foundation says Matadi was “was a pioneer, and his 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.”
Simon is a renowned international journalist, founder and publisher of TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C.