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First face transplant patient, a French woman, dies

In this September 2014 photo released Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014, by the Cleveland Clinic, doctors work during transplant surgery to replace nearly the entire face of a middle-aged man severely disfigured in a car accident. AP Photo/Cleveland Clinic, Janine Sot

A French woman who received the world’s first partial face transplant has died, 11 years after the surgery that set the stage for dozens of other transplants worldwide.

The Amiens University Hospital in northern France announced Isabelle Dinoire’s death on Tuesday. It said she died in April after a long illness, but her family wanted her death kept private. She was 49.

READ MORE: Poland’s first face transplant patient returns home

The hospital didn’t release any further details and it wasn’t clear if her illness was related to the transplant.

Dinoire was severely disfigured by her pet Labrador, and was given a new nose, chin and lips in 2005 by doctors Bernard Devauchelle and Jean-Michel Dubernard.

READ MORE: Chimp victim’s body rejecting face transplant

Medications that patients must take to prevent their bodies from rejecting the new organs can cause other illnesses and have severe side effects.

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