Baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew has undergone successful heart and kidney transplant surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.
The Minnesota Twins said Friday that the procedure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles lasted 13 hours and that Carew is resting in recovery.
‘We are overwhelmed with emotions right now – joy, relief, excitement and especially gratitude for all the doctors and nurses who have been with us at every step in this journey, and to the donor who made this possible,’ Carew’s wife, Rhonda, told American Heart Association News. ‘Rod knows he’s been given another chance at life and we look forward to making the most of it.’
Baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew shows off his number 29 in Panama City in 2001 – he underwent successful heart and kidney transplant surgery on Friday
Former Minnesota Twins infielder and Hall of Fame member Rod Carew pictured on April 13, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis
Carew has two children, son Devon and daughter Cheyenne.
Carew suffered the major heart attack while playing golf on September 20, 2015. He underwent six hours of surgery and was close to death before stabilizing for a few days but then suffered heart failure on the left side of his heart.
Doctors implanted a ventricular assist device to regulate blood flow and keep Carew alive. But a transplant was needed for his long-term ability to live.
Doctors have told Carew that recovery from a transplant is less grueling than what he already experienced with the LVAD procedure.
Carew’s wife, Rhonda (left), says that ‘Rod knows he’s been given another chance at life’
Carew, middle, has a little fun with daughter Cheyenne, left, son Devon (right) and wife Rhonda
He’ll be on anti-rejection medicines for the rest of his life, although the risk of that happening decreases over time. The overall survival rate after transplant is about 11 years; it jumps to around 13 years once a patient survives the first year.
The Hall of Famer, who is one of the greatest hitters of all-time, said before the surgery that he hoped to be on the field with the Twins by spring training next year.
Carew spent 12 seasons with the Minnesota Twins and seven with the California Angels during a career that started in 1967 ended in 1985.
He was a seven-time American League batting champion and first-ballot selection to the Hall of Fame.
He won seven American League batting titles and was named American League most valuable player in 1977 when he batted .388 for the Twins.
Carew finished his career with 3,053 hits and a .328 batting average. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.
In his retirement, Carew has championed the cause of fighting heart disease, partnering with the American Heart Association to create Heart of 29, named after his jersey with the Twins and Angels.
Carew was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991 – here he threw out the ceremonial first pitch during a Red Sox – Minnesota Twins game in July