A pair of twins were separated forever when one boy received a life-saving liver transplant and his brother died.
Identical teenagers Devin and Nick Coats were both diagnosed with liver disease last year.
Nick ultimately succumbed to the disease Monday at age 18, the boys’ mother, Margi Coats, said on Facebook.
“My beautiful son Nick departed this world last night a little after 8:30 p.m.,” she said Tuesday.
“As Nick now has a new life in heaven, he left behind his twin. Devin feels deep loss and I ask for all of you to please say lots of prayers for him,” she wrote.
Nick suffered from leg pain which turned out to be stage 4 cirrhosis of both boys’ livers, requiring that they receive liver transplants, Margi Coats told ABC News.
But as they sat on a waiting list for new livers, Nick’s condition deteriorated. By the time a liver became available, he was too sick for a transplant.
His mother blames his deterioration on the shortage of organ donors in the United States.
“When he got diagnosed with liver cirrhosis, at that time, if we had enough organs available across this country, none of this would have been an issue. Nicholas would not have developed cancer on his diseased liver,” she told ABC News.
Devin was stable enough to receive a new liver when one became available in January.
But Nick — who was receiving chemotherapy at the time — was not healthy enough for a transplant.
“When they called Devin in to have his liver transplant (in January), he didn’t want to have it done. He wanted his brother to go in for him,” Margi Coats said.
By late February, doctors believed Nick had beaten the cancer. A liver became available, but as he prepared for surgery, doctors discovered the cancer had metastasized, and a new liver would not have cured him.
Margi Coats said her surviving son faces a “big, big adjustment” without his brother. She said he also struggles with feelings of guilt “because he’s going to survive and he’s watch(ed) his brother here in the same house slowly fade away.”
Nick passed away two months short of his high school graduation.
His mother said he dreamed of receiving his diploma.
She called on more Americans to become organ donors.
“This is ridiculous,” she said. “There (are) way too many people in this country for us to have a shortage of organs. When you go in the ground, you’re in the ground. Extend your loved one’s life in somebody else.”