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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Efforts to save a Cuban boy who had a basketball-size tumor on his face have failed.

14-year-old Emanuel Zayas had surgery in Miami to treat the benign tumor but he later developed kidney and lung complications.

His doctors and family members say he passed away from those complications Friday night.

The boy was brought to Miami because it was difficult for Cuban doctors to remove the ten-pound tumor.

“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,” said Dr. Robert Marx, chief of oral and maxillofacial surgery for the University of Miami Health System, in a statement to CBS4 News partner The Herald. “Our hopes of saving his life, and with that allowing him a better quality of life, were not realized.”

Zayas was diagnosed with the rare disorder, called polyostotic fibrous dysplasia, when he was born. It’s a condition that replaces multiple areas of bones with fibrous tissue and may cause fractures and deformity of the legs, arms and skull. In Emanuel’s case, the condition began affecting his left arm and leg when he was two years old.

The tumor covering Zayas’ face had been benign, but it threatened to suffocate him because it pressed on his trachea. He was also malnourished because it made it difficult to eat and swallow. “The weight threatens his life,” Marx had said before the surgery. “If nothing is done, it could fracture his neck.”

His remains were donated to science, so doctors can study the rare condition.

Comments (5)
  1. Why did they wait for it to grow so big before they did something?

    1. Bryan DeHart says:

      They waited because of lack of access to good health care and they likely had no insurance to cover the costs. America’s poor are no different.

  2. Phyllis Mata says:

    God Bless this young man and his family. As horrible as this is, I hope they know that he is free from worry, pain, and in Heaven will be perfect with no illness or tumours. Prayers for the family and for this young man’s amazing fight.

  3. God bless the parents of this brave teenager, and give them comfort, empathy, faith, and love to cope with the loss of their beloved son. RIP.

  4. He is no longer suffering. Before he died, he did know the relief of having the tumor off his face. Rest in peace.

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