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Vietnam man whose giant tumor was removed dies

Nguyen Duy Hai, 33, of Lam Dong Province's Da Lat Town walking with a walker after having a 90-kg tumor tumor removed from his leg at FV Hospital in January 2012. Photo by Nguyen Mi 

Nguyen Duy Hai, who had his 90-kilogram tumor successfully removed by an American surgeon in an operation that made headlines worldwide in January last year, passed away of respiratory failure in Da Lat early morning Friday.

Hai, 33, of Da Lat, had pain in the right leg from where the tumor was removed -- at FV Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City -- since Thursday morning.

He developed breathing difficulty at 1:30 p.m. and his family rushed him to Hoan My Da Lat General Hospital.

His condition worsened, and he was transferred to the Lam Dong General Hospital at 4 p.m. in a deep coma and with a swelling in the brain.

Nguyen Xuan Tao, head of the hospital's Resuscitation and Antitoxin Department, told Thanh Nien that he had pulmonary embolism, or a blockage in the blood vessels of the lung, which then led to respiratory failure and eventually death at 12:09 a.m.

Dr Pham Vu Thanh of the resuscitation department was quoted by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper as saying that doctors gave him an injection to increase his blood pressure, put him on a ventilator, and took other emergency measures but could not save him.

Hai has neurofibromatosis type I (NF-1), a genetic disorder formerly known as von Recklinghausen disease.

Nguyen Thi Le Thu, FV's Director of Marketing and Business Development, said the hospital's doctors would review the case with their Da Lat counterparts to determine cause of death.

Hai first got the tumor at four, and it kept growing until it reached giant size hindering his movements and forcing him to drop out of school in sixth grade.

A part of his right leg was amputated in 1997, but the tumor returned four years later and continued to grow.

On January 5, 2012, Dr McKay McKinnon and doctors at FV performed a 10-hour surgery to remove the tumor.

The doctors had warned there was only a 50 percent possibility of success and a high risk of death during and after the surgery, but Hai and his family decided to go ahead.

The operation was broadcast live by the US's Morningstar Entertainment and reported by the international media.

A month after the surgery Hai could stand up and walk with a crutch. He returned home three months after the surgery.

When he came to FV Hospital for a check-up in July, he was in reasonably good shape except for occasional pain in the right leg. 

McKinnon found some fluid in the spot he had made the incision and planned to perform another operation to remove it.

Doctors also planned to give him a prosthetic leg.

Hai had dreamt of one day earning his own living by repairing cell phones.

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