Rod Carew, who spent the first 12 seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the Twins, was prepped to receive a new heart and kidney, transplant surgery that was scheduled to begin Thursday night and extend well into Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Carew, 71, suffered a heart attack in September 2015 and had been on a waiting list for a heart transplant. Donor organs were secured Wednesday, and the complex surgery was expected to take 6-10 hours.
After his heart attack, Carew was diagnosed with extreme heart failure, his heart too weak to pump blood to the rest of his body. Doctors implanted a left ventricular assist device into his chest that took over the heart’s pumping duties.
The procedure allowed Carew to live a relatively normal life and make public appearances. He toured the country last summer to boost awareness and prevention of heart disease, creating the “Heart of 29” Foundation — named for the uniform number he wore with the Twins and Angels in his 19-year career.
Carew spent 12 seasons with the Twins and seven with the Angels. He had 3,053 career hits, won seven batting titles and was the American League MVP in 1977 after hitting .388 for the Twins.
“We appreciate your thoughts and prayers for Rod and the medical team,” his wife, Rhonda, told American Heart Association News. “At the same time, our sympathy and appreciation goes to the donor’s family.”
In a release, Twins President Dave St. Peter said in part: “The Minnesota Twins and millions of baseball fans across the globe continue to be inspired by Rodney Carew.”