World’s First Organ Donor Dies At 79

A man who donated a kidney to his dying twin brother 56 years ago in the world's first victorious organ transplant has died in the United States.

Ronald Lee Herrick died, aged 79, on Monday in the Augusta Rehabilitation Centre, a hospital in Maine, New England, following complications from heart operation in October, his widow, Cynthia, said.

Herrick donated a kidney to his identical twin, Richard, in a pioneering operation on 23 December 1954.

The successful surgery kept Herrick's brother alive for eight years and was the first victorious organ transplant, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. Lead surgeon Dr Joseph Murray went on to win the Nobel Prize.

The operation proved that transplants were probable and led to thousands of other successful kidney transplants, and later the transplant of other organs.
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