The 8-year-old Congolese boy that retired NBA star Dikembe Mutombo helped happen to be america to get a tumor taken off his face died on Friday, Mutombo announced on Instagram.
Mutombo and his foundation helped fly Matadi Sela Petit and his father to the United States earlier this month and arranged for doctors to eliminate a big tumor from the left side of his face. He died after suffering a rare genetic a reaction to anesthesia during surgery.
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“Regardless of the diligent efforts of his medical caregivers, Night matadi didn’t recover and he passed on last,” Mutombo said in the post. “We have been devastated by the increased loss of Matadi and our heart is out to his father, his mother and the others of his family, and most of his new and old friends. We have been comforted by the data a whole “village” adopted Matadi and joined forces to provide him treatment that has been unavailable in the DRC and which may have given him the chance to truly have a new and various life.”
Mutombo first met Matadi in the Democratic Republic of Congo some time ago at the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital, which he helped build, and said he was moved by his story.
Mutombo, who played in the NBA from 1991-2009, was created in Kinshasa, Congo, and created the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation in 1997 to greatly help “improve the ongoing health, education and qualify of life for the social people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
“[Matadi] was a pioneer, and his memory will inspire us to keep to build up efforts and partnerships to boost the lives of the kids of the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” Mutombo said in the statement.
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