Alex Dragomir, a popular YouTuber who shared his love for soccer and his medical journey with tens of thousands of followers, has died after undergoing a strenuous operation this week, his family said.
For weeks, the 17-year-old from the United Kingdom had used YouTube to share his medical journey after being diagnosed with heart failure.
"My heart is weak. This can't get better, unfortunately," Dragomir explained in a recent video to his channel. "There's always hope, but this can't get better. I'm basically waiting for a heart transplantation. ... They wait for a donor to give me a new heart and we go from there."
Dragomir said his condition had long been manageable at home with occasional appointments and checkups, but things took a turn for the worst when his body began to swell. Eventually, he had trouble breathing and doctors informed him he needed an urgent heart transplant.
"I was very sad, my mental health was gone," Dragomir recalled in his video.
In a tweet on Thursday, Dragomir said he was undergoing a procedure to save his life later that day. In case the operation didn't go as planned, he thanked his supporters for their encouragement throughout his journey.
"Going in for a life saving procedure if it don't work then it's been a great time people thank you for all you've done for me," he wrote on Twitter, "but we pray we see it through and we pray we get fatter and fitter after it for them to see progress and not say they can't do anything after surgery."
On Thursday, Dragomir's sister posted a message to his Twitter account announcing he had died during the operation.
"Helllo, as you all might already know my brother passed away today," she wrote. "He had a very hard operation which lasted 7 hours but his heart couldn't take it anymore, he was too weak to survive."
"Heaven gained another angel, he was my rock my everything," she added. "RIP Alex."
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Many of Dragomir's supporters posted tributes to social media following his death, including soccer star Marcus Rashford, who plays forward for Manchester United. Dragomir had been reading a copy of Rashford's book, You Are a Champion, earlier this month.
"My guy," Rashford wrote of Dragomir. "I hope this book brought you at least a little enjoyment at the end. What an absolute superstar, fought until the very end. I was always thankful of your support."