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Hall of Famer Rod Carew to get heart transplant

Baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew is set to receive a heart transplant on Thursday, 15 months after a massive heart attack nearly killed him.

A suitable donor was identified and the procedure will be performed at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Carew also will undergo a kidney transplant.

"We appreciate your thoughts and prayers for Rod and the medical team," Carew's wife, Rhonda, told American Heart Association News. "At the same time, our sympathy and appreciation goes to the donor's family."

Carew, 71, suffered the major heart attack while playing golf in Corona, Calif., on Sept. 20, 2015. He underwent six hours of surgery and was close to death before stabilizing for a few days but then suffered heart failure on the left side of his heart.

Doctors implanted a ventricular assist device to regulate blood flow and keep Carew alive. But a transplant was needed for his long-term ability to live.

Carew started the Heart of 29 campaign -- 29 was his jersey number during his standout career with the Twins and Angels -- to bring awareness to heart disease and help with prevention.

The 18-time All-Star spoke at All-Star FanFest the day prior to the 2016 All-Star Game and revealed he had a small laptop attached to his chest that monitors the ventricular device. He encouraged those in attendance to pay attention to their heart and get regular checkups.

Carew spent 12 seasons with the Twins and seven with the Angels during a career that ended in 1985. He won seven American League batting titles and was named AL MVP in 1977 when he batted .388 for the Twins.

Carew finished his career with 3,053 hits and a .328 batting average. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.

Prior to last summer's All-Star Game, the AL batting title was renamed the "Rod Carew American League Batting Champion Award."