Hannah, who died on July 6, 2013, was "unable to overcome additional health issues that were identified as her care progressed," according to Children's Hospital of Illinois in Peoria. On April 9, 2013, a windpipe made from her own stem cells was implanted into Hannah's trachea. Until the surgery, she was unable to breathe, eat or swallow on her own, and had spent her entire life in a hospital in South Korea.
The Children's Hospital of Illinois released a statement July 8 that read in part, "Although regenerative medicine remains in the early stages for pediatric patients, progress is being made. Hannah, and the physicians caring for her, helped advance this area of medical practice which is only at its very beginning stages. Even at this time of loss and grief, we, and Hannah's family, take comfort in the knowledge that the efforts of her physicians and the care team working with them will benefit and serve other children and adults in the years to come."
Only about one in 50,000 children worldwide are born with a windpipe defect. Hannah was the youngest patient to undergo the stem cell treatment.