Opera singer who received double lung transplant at Cleveland Clinic passes away

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 02: Singer Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dick performs onstage during the Lung Transplant Project Gala with special guest Patti LaBelle at Guastavino's on October 2, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Lung Transplant Project)

WASHINGTON D.C. — An internationally-renowned opera singer and best-selling classical recording artist who received a double lung transplant at the Cleveland Clinic has passed away.

Charity Tillemann-Dick had two double lung transplants at the clinic which she previously told the hospital had saved both her life and her music career.

While studying opera in Hungary, Tillemann-Dick was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, a disease that caused her heart to swell to three and a half times its normal size and was likely to be fatal without a lung transplant. She received new lungs in 2009 and was informed by a doctor that singing high notes would kill her, but she persisted and went through months of therapy before starting to sing again.

Years later, Tillemann-Dick’s body rejected her transplanted lungs, but in 2012 she received a second set of lungs from a Honduran immigrant who died of a stroke , whose lungs turned out to be a better match.

In 2017 she performed a song she wrote paying tribute to her most recent donor n front of about 200 doctors and medical executives at a Cleveland medical summit with the donor’s daughter.

Unfortunately, Wednesday morning Tillemann-Dick passed away.

According to a post on her Facebook page, she died peacefully with her husband, mother and siblings at her side “and sunshine on her face.”

They family shared that their hearts are broken and “in this moment, the world is dark.”

“But Charity’s rays extend far beyond her tragic finale on this earthly stage. Her light continues to illuminate the hearts of thousands and, in that way, Charity is with us always. She is our hero. We love her,” the post read.

Tillemann-Dick’s funeral is scheduled for Thursday at the Capitol Hill Chapel in Washington D.C.  at 10 a.m.  The family said they will gather for music, memories and a good group cry.

Continuing coverage, here.

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