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Boy with 10-pound facial tumor dies after surgery

Viral sensation Emanuel Zayas has died after undergoing surgery to remove a massive tumor from his face.

While the operation was successful, the 14-year-old Cuban boy suffered kidney and lung complications days later, according to the Miami Herald.

Zayas died Friday night at the Holtz Children’s Hospital at Jackson Memorial, doctors and relatives confirmed to the outlet.

News spread quickly through social media, where many had been following his story and hoping for the best.

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Jaynie Estrada, a missionary whom the publication reported had become close with the Zayas family, shared the news of Emanuel Zayas’ death with his Facebook followers on Sunday.

“Thank you to everyone all over the world who donated, prayed and encouraged Emanuel,” she posted.

“I translated and shared comments with him and his parents since the beginning of the campaign. Your interest, concern and love has impacted them deeply – and they love and appreciate you for it.”

She went on to say that both she and his family were “saddened” that the outcome of the surgery was not what they expected.

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Emanuel Zayas and his family flew from Cuba to Miami to have a 10-pound tumor remove from his face in the hopes of saving his life.

(C.M. Guerrero/AP)

Dr. Robert Marx, head of maxillofacial surgery at the University of Miami Health System and the main doctor assigned to Zayas’ case, told NBC Miami the boy’s family donated his remains to science.

They are hopeful that doing so will lead to more information about the Polyostoic fibrous dysplasia Zayas suffered from for 12 years.

Marx also commented on his former patient’s passing, saying he said he was “saddened” by the loss, adding that they were hopeful going into surgery that this would be good for Zayas.

“After visiting Emanuel last night and observing a ray of hope from his pupillary reflexes and the muscle tone of his face, I was informed this morning that his condition had turned grave,” Marx said in a statement to the Miami Herald.

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“I am saddened by the fact that we are losing him and that the physiological stress of the surgery was apparently too much for his compromised anatomy. Our hopes of saving his life, and with that allowing him a better quality of life, were not realized.”

The tumor on Zayas’ face was benign, but still posed a threat to his wellbeing.

The mass pressed on the teen’s trachea, which doctors feared my lead to suffocation in time.


Emanuel Zayas died from complications stemming from surgery to remove a massive benign tumor from his face.

(C.M. Guerrero/AP)

Zayas was also malnourished because his tumor made it challenging for him to eat and swallow.

“The weight threatens his life,” Marx said ahead of the procedure.

“If nothing is done, it could fracture his neck.”

Zayas and his parents, Noel Zayas and Melvis Vizaino, flew to Miami on Nov. 27 on a humanitarian visa after meeting missionaries from the humanitarian nonprofit Reel Life International in their home country, the Miami Herald reported.

The boy’s case was forwarded to Marx, who is well versed in the removal of large facial tumors.

Money was raised for the surgery in a number of ways, including an online donation platform and a Facebook page.


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