LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Congolese boy who traveled to Los Angeles to undergo surgery to remove a large tumor on his face died late Friday after having an adverse reaction to anesthesia.
The Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, which co-sponsored 8-year-old Matadi Sela Petit's travels and medical procedures, announced his death Saturday on social media.
The foundation headed by the former NBA star said that during the delicate surgery on Dec. 16, the boy suffered a rare and unexpected genetic reaction to anesthesia.
"Despite the diligent efforts of his medical caregivers, Matadi did not recover and he passed away last night," the statement said.
Calls to the foundation and doctors at the Osborne Head and Neck Institute were not immediately returned Saturday.
In photos and videos posted on Instagram, Mutombo greeted the boy when he arrived at the airport with his father and accompanied him to a medical appointment.
Matadi was born with a cleft lip and a tumor on one side of his cheeks that grew into the size of a balloon.