Heart transplant recipient dies on first day of school

OHIO — The first day of school was heart-wrenching for one Ohio family after 13-year-old heart transplant recipient Peyton West died just an hour after taking his back-to-school photos.

West was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and had undergone three open heart surgeries before his fifth birthday prior to receiving the transplant in March. Well-wishers tracked his progress through the Facebook page Pray for Peyton: Living with HLHS/Heart transplant.

On Aug. 17, an 8:38 a.m. post asked supporters to pray for West. A 12:05 p.m. follow-up post said the teen had died.

His family was devastated Monday but said they are grateful for the time with West that the surgeries and transplant bought them.

“Peyton passed away this morning at 10:45am.” the post read. “We will post more when we know.”

In a truly sad follow-up post later that night, Peyton’s father Corey shared his back-to-school photo.

“He was perfect last night,” Corey West, his father, told WCPO, “perfect this morning. And then … it’s just precious. Life is precious.”

Corey was in a grievous state, saying West complained in the car on the way to school: “I don’t feel right. Something’s wrong.”

The exact cause of his death has yet to be disclosed but Peyton was fighting the side effects of the transplant for months after, reporting multiple symptoms. He was tested for possible organ rejection but when it came back negative he was given further medication and planned to have a biopsy in three months.

Supporters are now flooding the Facebook page with their condolences.

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