Boy who survived rare birth defect dies at 13

HOBART, Ind. (AP) — A boy who grew up in Indiana and overcame extraordinary odds to survive a rare congenital defect in which he was born with his heart outside his chest has died at age 13.

Tyler Jacob Todd died unexpectedly Thursday at his family’s home in Memphis, Tenn., where his family had moved two years ago from Hobart, Ind., The Times of Munster reported (http://bit.ly/19qVT0Z ). He had recently undergone surgery — one of many he faced during his life.

When Tyler was born in August 2000, doctors gave him less than a 1 percent chance of survival. He spent his first 14 months at Rush Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

But he survived a four-hour procedure in which a surgeon placed his heart back inside his chest and covered it with a protective material. Months later, he had another surgery to repair his main pulmonary artery and a hole that had formed between the lower two chambers of his heart.

Tyler’s great-aunt, Maryanna Mooney, said that despite a lifetime of surgeries, Tyler was able to enjoy being a normal boy during the past four years.

“He had some joys in his life, too,” she said, adding that the youngster lived for NASCAR racing.

“He knew all the names of the drivers and even went to the races,” Mooney said.

She said that Tyler, who grew up in Hobart, would be buried in that northern Indiana city.

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Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com

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