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Md. Man Who Received Synthetic Trachea Has Died

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Mary Bubala joined WJZ in December 2003. She now anchors the 4-4:30...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A sad update on a story WJZ first brought you about a revolutionary procedure to save a Baltimore man’s life.

Christopher Lyles, 30, was only the second person in the world to have a transplant using his own stem cells.

Monday, his family told Mary Bubala Lyles passed away.

Bubala first met Christopher Lyles in November 2010, a day before he left for Sweden for revolutionary surgery. He became only the second person in the world and the first from the U.S. to have a synthetic trachea, or windpipe transplant, using his own stem cells to grow and form collagen on the plastic. His own trachea was cancerous.

Lyles returned to Baltimore and spoke with us in January, as living, breathing proof of a new era in regenerative medicine.

“It’s amazing to be that pioneer, to step out and have this type of surgery,” Lyles said.

But just over a week ago, he was hospitalized. Then, there was the heartbreaking news that Lyles died Monday morning. It was on the website Help Hope Live, which was raising money to help Lyles pay his medical bills. On his Facebook page, where he connected with so many people about his recovery, people are leaving their condolences to his family and his young daughter.

Lyles was just 30.

Lyles’ family confirmed the news Monday morning. They are so very sad and plan to speak about Lyles and what went wrong sometime Tuesday.

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