JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — A liver-transplant baby who captured the hearts of white South Africans and dominated newspaper headlines died Tuesday in a hospital here.
A hospital spokeswoman said that 2-year-old Nicole Hohowsky died after rejecting a new liver she received in Los Angeles after a massive fund-raising campaign to send her to the United States. She had been in a coma since Sunday night and was suffering from internal bleeding.
After the operation Jan. 6, 1986, she was transformed from an emaciated, yellow-skinned waif into a chubby baby. A public debate has raged here since October, when surgeons said Nicole would die without a second transplant. But her mother Doreen said she would not put the baby through more pain.
Nicole came to prominence in July, 1985, when her parents appealed to the public for funds for a transplant after the baby was diagnosed as having a rare liver disease. Donations poured into a trust fund set up to raise the $230,000 needed to send Nicole to the UCLA Medical Center for a liver transplant.