The little boy whom NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo flew to the United States from Africa has died from complications after delicate surgery to remove a facial tumor. Matatdi, an eight-year-old boy from the Congo who had a facial tumor which encompassed his entire face, was flown to Los Angeles by the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation with the hope of giving the child a better life.
TMZ has been following Matadi’s story closely and shared the news of his passing solemnly. The young boy flew to Los Angeles from the Democratic Republic of Congo last week to have lifesaving surgery at Cedars-Sinai Hospital and suffered cardiac arrest at the end of the procedure. Matadi had a “rare and unpredictable genetic reaction to anesthesia” and passed away last night at the hospital.
Through his foundation, Dikembe Mutombo met with Matadi and his family back in the Congo where the boy had been shunned because of his facial abnormality. The boy was forced to stay indoors and was not allowed to attend school in his village.
Dikembe Mutombo, who is best known for his days as a 7-foot-2-inch center for Georgetown University and various NBA teams announced the boy’s passing on his official Instagram page.
This is so so sad ???? An 8-year-old boy who came to the U.S. to have a large tumor removed, has died. His death was caused by a rare genetic reaction to anesthesia. The Dikembe Mutombo Foundation sponsored him. https://t.co/NgKzf5Ok5W @abc13houston
— Marla Carter (@MarlaABC13) December 22, 2018
The giant in the humanitarian aid community released a statement about his time with Matadi whom he calls “vibrant and appealing.”
“The Dikembe Mutombo Foundation is sad to share the news of the passing of Matadi Sela Petit. Matadi was an 8-year-old little boy with a vibrant and appealing personality. He was born in Kinshasa, DRC with a cleft lip and a facial tumor that enlarged as he grew. Matadi was sponsored by the DMF and several partners to receive surgical treatment for his tumor by Dr. Ryan Osborne, founder and Director of Head and Neck Surgery at the Osborne Head and Neck Institute in Los Angeles, CA.
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. 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.
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. 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.
We thank Dr. Ryan Osborne and his team, the Cedars-Sinai Hospital medical team, the Ronald McDonald House, the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital, the American Embassy in Kinshasa and all those who in large and small ways embraced Matadi and his family. He 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.”
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Please keep little Matadi in your thoughts and prayers. He will undergo surgery on Sunday and we are hopeful for his full and complete recovery so that he can return home to his family. We are also praying for the surgical team at Osborne Head and Neck Institute as they prepare for Matadi's surgery. @atlhawks @nbatv @houstonrockets @nbacanada @nba_africa @dikembe_mutombo_foundation_ @georgetownhoops @dofficialmutombo @nbacares @nba #themutombofamily #thesonofcongo????????drc
Matadi’s story captured the attention of the entire country who kept tabs on the young man in the hope that he could be helped at Cedars-Sinai Hospital.