Anthony Stokes, a 17-year-old Georgia teen who captured national headlines in 2013 after initially being denied a heart transplant because of run-ins with the law—and who would later receive a heart transplant—died Tuesday, the New York Daily News reports, after crashing a stolen car into a pole while fleeing an armed robbery, officials said.
Stokes hijacked a car, then forced his way into a woman’s house in Roswell, Ga., while wearing a mask, and shot at her while trying to rob her, authorities said.
Stokes sped off toward the highway with cops in pursuit. During the chase, Stokes lost control of the car, hit a pedestrian and crashed into a pole, officials said. The pedestrian was taken to the hospital and was in stable condition, but Stokes died later the same day.
Stokes "suffered from dilated cardiomyopathy, in which the heart's main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, fails to pump enough blood," according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In 2013, when Stokes was just 15 and it appeared that he was being denied heart surgery because of his prior run-ins with the law, support poured in from across the country. Activists felt that Stokes was being punished for his past. Eventually the Georgia hospital relented and performed the surgery for Stokes.
Stokes promised that he would "turn his life around," the Daily News reports.
According to AJC, Stokes was arrested Jan. 10, 2015, and was "charged with possession of tools for the commission of a crime and criminal attempt." He was released from jail almost a month later after posting $5,000 bond.
The hospital that performed Stokes' heart transplant, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, declined to comment.
"We cannot provide any additional information about this tragic situation," a CHA spokeswoman told the Daily News. "We are deeply saddened by this loss."