Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty, once considered the heaviest woman in the world, passed away Monday after complications related to her weight, including heart disease and kidney malfunction, PEOPLE reports.
El Aty’s story gained attention earlier this year, when a bariatric surgeon in India offered to perform weight-loss surgery on her pro bono. She was airlifted from her home in Alexandria, Egypt to Mumbai, where she received a laparoscopic sleeve gastronomy surgery, which helped her to lose more than 700 pounds in the two months following surgery.
According to Abu Dhabi newspaper The National, El Aty showed progress after the surgery, sitting up in bed by herself and communicating with family and doctors again by July. She was receiving rehabilitation treatment from nutritionists, physiotherapists and psychologistsat Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi when she passed away unexpectedly.
Her doctors told The National her rare thyroid condition – which caused her to gain so much weight in the first place – led to damage to her heart, kidney, and respiratory system.
“Eman was improving every day and was getting well,” Dr Debouni said. “Her diet was right, and nothing could have been done differently – so we were all very surprised when she started to go downhill over the previous three to four days.”
Her first doctor, Dr. Muffi Lakdawala, tweeted his condolences Monday along with a verse from the Koran.
After spending two months in the hospital recovering from what might be the most ambitious weight-loss surgery of all time, 36-year-old Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty has officially gotten her doctors’ OK to go home. And she’ll do just that — 713 pounds lighter, People reports.
Back in February, El Aty was transported from her hometown of Alexandria, Egypt, to Mumbai, India, where she was scheduled to undergo a pro-bono weight-loss surgery. At the time, she was known as the “World’s Heaviest Woman,” and she weighed more than 1,100 pounds.
Now, though, two months later, El Aty is being released from the Saifee Hospital in Mumbai and is down 713 pounds, currently clocking in at a much healthier — and more mobile — 389 pounds.
Prior to arriving in India, El Aty had spent more than 20 years of her life sitting, completely immobile, in her Egypt home. As a child, she was diagnosed with elephantiasis, a rare condition in which an obstruction in the lymphatic system causes limbs and other body parts to swell up to abnormally large sizes, and that made moving difficult for her from a young age. As she became more and more immobile, her weight crept up and her health continued to suffer: She developed a number of conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure, and then, two years ago, she had a stroke that only further decreased her mobility.
In a desperate effort to find help for her sister, El Aty’s sister Shaimaa began reaching out to leading weight-loss professionals around the world. She was struggling to reach any of them when she finally connected with Indian surgeon Muffazal Lakdawala, MS, who offered to treat El Aty for free.
In February, El Aty was transported to Mumbai via a special cargo plane and put on a liquid diet to help her reach a weight at which the doctors could safely operate on her. Finally, one month later, El Aty was ready: She underwent gastric sleeve surgery (a procedure in which the shape of the stomach is altered so that the patient’s calorie intake is restricted, according to Mayo Clinic) on March 7.
Now, after two months of therapy and rehabilitation, El Aty is finally ready to go home — but she’ll need to continue to work on her weight loss in order to become healthier in the future.
“The team of doctors at Saifee Hospital has done a fabulous job and her recovery has been unprecedented,” announced the Save Eman Cause, a group that has advocated for El Aty and documented her progress throughout her weight-loss journey, in a press release shared with People. “She is stable and all parameters are under control. She will continue to need neurological rehabilitation and physiotherapy.”
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