Heart transplant patient dies days after marrying high school sweetheart

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December 5, 2019 - 9:41 AM

Javi Rodriguez and Crystal Cuevas exchange vows during their wedding before family, friends and medical staff Wednesday, Nov. 27 in the chapel at the University of Chicago Medical Center. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

CHICAGO — A heart transplant patient who married his high school sweetheart last week in the chapel at the University of Chicago Medical Center died Monday, days after leaving the hospital, his family said Wednesday.

Javier Rodriguez, known to his family and friends as Javi, was 23 years old. He had familial dilated cardiomyopathy, a genetic disease that predisposes victims to develop heart failure at a young age. He had two heart transplants, one when he was 14 and another when he was 18.

His most recent physician, Dr. Bryan Smith, said Rodriguez was not eligible for a third heart transplant because he had acquired infections and had kidney dysfunction.

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