- Associated Press - Thursday, December 15, 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew is preparing to receive a new heart and undergo a kidney transplant.

His wife Rhonda confirmed the procedures on Thursday through the American Heart Association News.

The 71-year-old former hitting star has struggled with heart issues since September 2015 when he had a heart attack and went into cardiac arrest while undergoing a procedure to open clogged arteries.

A machine has kept Carew alive since he nearly died 15 months ago. Doctors say the kidney transplant will improve his chances for a strong recovery.

After his heart attack, Carew was diagnosed with extreme heart failure with his heart too weak to pump blood to the rest of his body. Doctors implanted into his chest a left ventricular assist device that took over the heart’s pumping duties.

The procedure allowed Carew to resume his life and he toured the country last summer to boost awareness and prevention of heart disease. He attended spring training with the Minnesota Twins and appeared at the All-Star Game in San Diego, where the AL batting title was named in his honor.

Carew played from 1967 to 1985 for the Twins and California Angels. He was a seven-time American League batting champion and first-ballot selection to the Hall of Fame.

After returning home from the Hall of Fame ceremony in July, Carew was hospitalized and doctors recommended a new heart.

Rhonda Carew says the family appreciates the public’s thoughts and prayers for her husband and his medical team. She expressed sympathy and appreciation to the donor’s family.

Twins President Dave St. Peter says the team shares its thoughts and prayers with the Carews and the family of the donor.

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