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One of the Rezakhanova Siamese Twins Dies Aged 24

Zita Rezakhanova

The burial took place Friday in a village in Kyrgyzstan of Zita Rezakhanova, one of the conjoined twins who were separated more than a decade ago in the first surgery of its kind in Russia, state-run news agency RIA Novosti reported.

Rezakhanova died late on Thursday in the village of Voyenno-Antonovka after suffering multiple organ failure, her doctor, Ulan Naraliyev, was cited as saying in the report.

She had returned to her native Kyrgyzstan with her family in August after her health deteriorated rapidly, despite being in the care of some of Moscow's best doctors, the report said.

A spokeswoman for the Kyrgyz Health Ministry and a friend of the family, Yelena Bayalinova, said Zita had been almost completely bedridden for nearly two years after she started suffering from sepsis following an operation in Georgia several years ago, the state-run Sputnik news agency reported.

Rezakhanova had been on heavy pain medication to treat a urinary tract infection and several other conditions, “a list of which would barely fit on a sheet of A4 paper,” Bayalinova said Thursday in a post on her Facebook page.

Zita and Gita Rezakhanova were born in 1991 in Bishkek, with a rare condition called ischiopagus-tripus, that caused their two bodies to be attached at the abdomen and pelvis.

As well as sharing several organs, including their intestines and reproductive organs, they only had three legs.

Aged 11, the two girls in 2003 underwent a 10-hour operation by a team of 23 surgeons in a Moscow clinic and were successfully separated, leaving each girl with one leg.

While the process of separating conjoined twins had already been tried successfully in the West, the Rezakhanova operation was the first of its kind to be conducted in Russia.

In a last post on her Facebook page one week ago, Zita thanked her mother for her “love, kindness, goodness and beautiful heart.”

Watch the video of the burial here.

Contact the author at e.hartog@imedia.ru

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