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21 May 2019 2:56
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  •   Home > News > International

    Charity Tillemann-Dick, opera singer who underwent two double lung transplants, dies aged 35

    Charity Tillemann-Dick went from "struggling to draw a single breath to singing at the most prestigious venues in the world" after learning to breathe, eat and sing again.


    Charity Tillemann-Dick, an American opera singer whose incredible voice persevered despite two double lung transplants, has died aged 35.

    "This morning, life's curtain closed on one of its consummate heroines," a post on Tillemann-Dick's Facebook page said.

    "Our beloved Charity passed peacefully with her husband, mother, and siblings at her side and sunshine on her face.

    "Our hearts are broken. In this moment, the world is dark.

    "But Charity's rays extend far beyond her tragic finale on this earthly stage. Her light continues to illuminate the hearts of thousands and, in that way, Charity is with us always. She is our hero. We love her."

    Diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension in 2004, Tillemann-Dick underwent her first double lung transplant in 2009 before a number of complications with that procedure forced her to undergo a second in 2012.

    Forced to relearn how to breathe and eat — let alone sing opera — Tillemann-Dick slowly recovered and defied doctors' predictions that she would last only five more years after her diagnosis.

    Also known as Charity Sunshine, she became an inspirational figure, sharing her story around the world and continuing to sing prominently, appearing in operas like A Midsummer Night's Dream, Ophelia Forever and Rigoletto.

    Her debut album American Grace topped Billboard's traditional classic charts.

    She released a memoir in 2017 titled The Encore, which told the story of her "remarkable journey from struggling to draw a single breath to singing at the most prestigious venues in the world".

    She lived in Baltimore.

    © 2019 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved


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