Connie Culp, recipient of first face transplant in US at Cleveland Clinic, dies at 57

Connie Culp, recipient of first face transplant in US at Cleveland Clinic, dies at 57
Connie Culp, who underwent the first face transplant surgery in the U.S. talks with the Associated Press at the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010 in Cleveland. The woman who had the nation's first face transplant is asking Ohioans to register as organ donors. (AP Photo/Jason Miller) (Source: JASON MILLER)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Connie Culp’s life changed forever when her husband, in a failed murder-suicide attempt, shot her in the face in Hopedale, Ohio in September 2004.

She underwent a near-total face transplant at the Cleveland Clinic in 2008, a first-of-its-kind surgery in the U.S.

Culp made international headlines with the breakthrough, and was an outspoken organ donor activist.

This week, it was announced that she died at the age of 57.

Dr. Frank Papay, M.D., chair of Cleveland Clinic’s Dermatology and Plastic Surgery Institute — who was part of Connie’s surgical team and led her care since she first came to Cleveland Clinic more than 12 years ago — had this to say:

“Connie was an incredibly brave, vibrant woman and an inspiration to many. Her strength was evident in the fact that she had been the longest-living face transplant patient to date. She was a great pioneer and her decision to undergo a sometimes-daunting procedure is an enduring gift for all of humanity.”

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