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A woman who carried her artificial heart in a rucksack following life saving surgery has died.

Rebecca Henderson, 24, died at Harefield Hospital on Wednesday following transplant complications, her family and friends have said.

Her mother Linda tweeted: “We’re going to miss our amazing, wonderful daughter. She touched so many lives and lived her life to the fullest. She was also my best friend and I’m going to love and miss her forever.”

She added in a separate tweet: “It is a privilege to be her mum and I’ll never stop loving or missing her.”

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The Oxford University post-graduate student was diagnosed with cancer of the heart, which is extremely rare, in 2017.

Medics concluded that removing her heart was the only way they could save her life, and a mechanical replacement – known as a Totally Artificial Heart (TAH) – was used.

The TAH connected to a 7kg pump via two tubes coming out of Rebecca’s stomach.

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In January, after Rebecca had been free of cancer for a year, she was placed on the transplant list.

Dr Janina Ramerez, an Oxford academic, said on Instagram: “She lived for over a year with a total artificial heart and sadly the operation that was due to give her a new one took her.

“She was just the strongest, bravest person I’ve ever met. Think of her today. Do something brave and strong to remember her.”

Image Credit Rebecca Henderson/BBC

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