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7-year-old Minn. boy dies after heart transplant

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A 7-year-old from Oak Park Heights who had a heart transplant in May died Wednesday night at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, the Pioneer Press reports.

Cameron Ulrich had been born with a rare heart defect, and he survived more than six months at Mayo prior to the transplant with the help of a machine that served as a replacement for his heart and lungs, the newspaper reported.

The prognosis had been hopeful – Cameron was expected to be released from Mayo sometime this month after spending 10 months at Mayo, the Pioneer Press reports. His mother Kari was optimistic in a July 23 post on the boy's CaringBridge web page. "Cameron is a living miracle and I am so proud of him," she wrote.

But the Pioneer Press reports that Kari and Rob Ulrich said in a statement that, "Quite unexpectedly, he just stopped breathing and his heart stopped beating, and despite immediate efforts to resuscitate him, he passed away."

Minnesota had a record number of heart transplants last year – 80 – due in part to more organ donors and newer technology.

Despite the new record, Dr. Richard Daly, surgical director of heart and lung transplant at Mayo, told the Pioneer Press earlier this year that donors are still in high demand. At least 157 patients in the region were waiting for heart transplants in January.

Minnesotans can register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor by checking the box on their driver's license or state ID card, or online at www.DonateLifeMN.org.

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