Boy behind mask in Darth Vader car ad has surgery
In this undated photo released by J&R, child actor, Max Page, who played little Darth Vader in Volkswagen's 2011 Super Bowl commercial, is shown. The 7-year-old underwent surgery to replace a pulmonary valve on Thursday, June 14, 2012, without incident. The operation was done at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. (AP Photo/J&R, JPI Studios)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The 7-year-old actor known as the boy behind the Darth Vader mask in a popular car commercial underwent open-heart surgery Thursday, hospital officials said.
The surgery to replace Max Page's pulmonary valve lasted two hours and took place without incident, according to the surgeon, Dr. Vaughn Starnes. The operation was done at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, where the boy was recovering in the cardiac intensive care unit.
Max, who plays Reed on the CBS soap opera "The Young and the Restless," was born with a congenital heart defect and has undergone multiple surgeries.
The valve used for Max will last about 15 years and won't require invasive surgery to replace it, according to the hospital. He was expected to be released in about five days, a hospital spokesman said.
He faces six to eight weeks of recovery.
Jennifer Page, his mother, said there's been an outpouring of support and kindness and that Max and the family welcome all "prayers and encouragement."
Max's parents and his younger brother, Els, were at the hospital with him. He was in good spirits the night before the operation, making everyone laugh, his father, Buck Page, said in a family statement.
"Max wanted to hold his brother's hand, and Max said to Els, 'It's OK, I'm not scared.' He just wanted to hold our hands and his stuffed animals. He was much calmer than we were," Jennifer Page said.
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