Ari Schultz, a 5-year-old boy from Massachusetts, and one of the youngest heart transplant recipients ever, has died. Ari’s story about his fight against a serious congenital heart defect went viral earlier this year and touched the hearts thousands of people. His story came to light after his parents documented their struggle on a blog titled “Echo of Hope.” According to ABC News, the news of Schultz’s death was confirmed by his parents on his Facebook page Ari “Danger” Schultz on Friday. On Ari’s Facebook page, the family announced the news of his death with the following statement.
“Ari passed away peacefully this evening listening to the Red Sox.”
Earlier on Thursday, the family had informed their followers about Ari’s worsening condition. He was reportedly admitted to the Boston Children’s Hospital’s emergency department and was placed on life support after he suffered a seizure. According to Ari’s parents, Mike and Erica Schultz, the entire experience was very scary. They wrote about the experience on the Facebook page.
“We called 911 at 4:19 a.m. as Ari was having a seizure. Very scary. At the hospital now. Something is going on. We don’t know what.”
In a subsequent post, they confirmed that things were getting worse.
“Just after 10 a.m. Ari coded in the emergency department. He had over a half an hour of CPR and has been placed on life support in the cardiac intensive care unit. Path forward unknown.”
One of the videos that made Ari very popular was the one uploaded back in June. It was titled “Ari’s Going home.” That video was made after Ari had spent more than 189 days in the hospital. In those 189 days, Ari underwent several procedures, including a heart transplant on March 3. We have embedded the video below in which Ari is seen wearing a Boston Red Sox jersey and swinging around his baseball bat.
Incidentally, on the same day that Ari was rushed to the hospital, the family had also released another video in which the boy was presented with gifts from Red Sox catcher Christian Vasquez and shortstop Xander Bogaerts. The duo also invited Ari to throw the first pitch at a Red Sox game scheduled for August 27.
According to family members, Ari suffered from a condition known as critical aortic stenosis, which was diagnosed by doctors before his birth during his 18th-week ultrasound. He also showed symptoms of evolving hypoplastic left heart syndrome. In simpler terms, this meant that if he were left untreated, he would be born with a two-chamber heart.
Even before he was born, Ari underwent several surgeries, and according to the “About” section on the blog, he was the first person ever to undergo two successful heart surgeries before he was born. Ari also had three of his four heart valves replaced in three major open heart surgeries. He was also only the fifth person in the world to receive an experimental Melody valve. In all, Ari underwent more than 20 surgeries in his short lifespan.
Following Ari’s death, the comments section on his Facebook page has been flooded with messages of condolence from people across the globe.
[Featured Image By Africa Studio/Shutterstock]