(NY DAILY NEWS) – He came to the United States for hope, and but for a genetic condition that nobody knew about, an 8yro Congolese boy Matadi Sela Petit would be tumor-free and smiling today.
Instead, Matadi died on Friday night after a reaction to anesthesia that no one saw coming.
“Matadi and his father were welcomed with open arms by Dr. Osborne, his team and the Cedars Sinai Hospital family as well as the Ronald McDonald House where he won everyone’s heart with his open and friendly attitude,” said DMF.
“During the delicate surgery, Matadi suffered a rare and unpredictable genetic reaction to anesthesia. Despite the diligent efforts of his medical caregivers, Matadi did not recover, and he passed away last night.”
No details were available about the nature of the reaction or what had happened. Matadi had been flown to Los Angeles for surgery to remove a tumor the size of a balloon that had grown on his face as he grew. Born with the tumor and a cleft lip, Matadi had caught Mutombo’s attention.
DMF and other partners had sponsored travel and medical bills for the boy and his father. Ryan Osborne, MD, founder and director of Head and Neck Surgery at the Osborne Head and Neck Institute in Los Angeles, performed the surgery for free.
“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,” said DMF.
“We are comforted by the knowledge that a whole ‘village’ adopted Matadi and joined forces to offer him treatment that was not available in the DRC and which would have given him the opportunity to have a new and different life.”
The boy had captured hearts immediately upon his arrival. When he welcomed Matadi on Dec. 12, Mutombo was elated.
“Very difficult as a father to see a child who is 8 years old who is born like all of us but has not gotten opportunities,” Mutombo said at the time, according to ABC News.