In a groundbreaking medical procedure that captured global attention, 62-year-old Richard Slayman made history as the first person to receive a kidney transplant from a genetically modified pig. However, just seven weeks after the pioneering surgery, Slayman tragically passed away.

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Slayman died at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, the same facility where he underwent the historic transplant. The hospital, along with Slayman’s family, announced his passing on Saturday, expressing deep sadness at the sudden loss.

Despite the groundbreaking nature of the procedure, the hospital stated that there was no indication that Slayman’s death was directly related to the transplant. Initial assessments suggested that his body did not reject the pig’s kidney, raising questions about the cause of his untimely death.


Slayman’s battle with kidney disease spanned over a decade, during which he underwent kidney dialysis after his body rejected a human kidney transplant in 2018. With limited treatment options available, Slayman’s case fell under the FDA’s “compassionate use” rule, allowing experimental treatments for patients facing life-threatening conditions without alternative remedies.

Researchers genetically modified the pig’s cells with 69 edits to its genetic code to reduce the risk of Slayman’s immune system rejecting the transplant. Despite the significant efforts to ensure the procedure’s success, Slayman’s passing underscores the complexities and uncertainties inherent in cutting-edge medical interventions.

In a statement, Slayman’s family expressed gratitude for the additional time they had with him following the transplant. “Their enormous efforts leading the xenotransplant gave our family seven more weeks with Rick, and our memories made during that time will remain in our minds and hearts,” the statement read.

While Slayman’s journey marked a significant milestone in medical science, his passing serves as a reminder of the challenges and risks involved in pushing the boundaries of medical innovation.


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