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Massachusetts man who received first-ever pig kidney transplant dies at 62

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BOSTON – The Massachusetts man who received the first pig kidney transplant in the world has died.

Rick Slayman, 62, from Weymouth, received the kidney from Massachusetts General Hospital on March 21. He was discharged from the hospital two weeks later to continue his recovery at home.

Pig kidney transplant recipient Rick Slayman.

Massachusetts General Hospital


No indication it was a result of transplant, MGH says

The kidney was genetically altered to remove pig genes and add in human ones that would help improve its capability. 

Massachusetts General Hospital announced Slayman’s passing on Saturday, around two months after he received the transplant.  The hospital also emphasized there is no indication his death was a result of the transplant.

“The Mass General transplant team is deeply saddened at the sudden passing of Mr. Rick Slayman. We have no indication that it was the result of his recent transplant. Mr. Slayman will forever be seen as a beacon of hope to countless transplant patients worldwide and we are deeply grateful for his trust and willingness to advance the field of xenotransplantation. We offer our heartfelt condolences to Mr. Slayman’s family and loved ones as they remember an extraordinary person whose generosity and kindness touched all who knew him,” Massachusetts General Hospital said in a statement.

“Provide hope for thousands of people”

Slayman had been living with hypertension and Type 2 diabetes for several years. He received a human kidney transplant in 2018, but five years later, it began to fail. 

In a statement, Slayman’s family remembered him as an inspiration for many worldwide.

“Millions of people worldwide have come to know Rick’s story. We felt – and still feel – comforted by the optimism he provided patients desperately waiting for a transplant. To us, Rick was a kind-hearted man with a quick-witted sense of humor who was fiercely dedicated to his family, friends, and co-workers,” Slayman’s family said in a statement.

“After his transplant, Rick said that one of the reasons he underwent this procedure was to provide hope for the thousands of people who need a transplant to survive. Rick accomplished that goal and his hope and optimism will endure forever. His legacy will be one that inspires patients, researchers, and health care professionals everywhere,” Slayman’s family said. 

The family also asked for privacy in the wake of Slayman’s passing.

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