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'Miracle Marine' dies after beating odds

  • Story Highlights
  • Sgt. Merlin German was burned over more than 95 percent of his body in 2005
  • He spent nine months in intensive care and underwent more than 100 operations
  • German founded Merlin's Miracles, a charity to help burned children
  • "He endeared himself to all he came in contact with," doctor says
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(CNN) -- A Marine who survived being burned over more than 95 percent of his body in Iraq and established a charity to help burned children has died, the military has announced.

Sgt. Merlin German was 22.

He was severely wounded February 21, 2005, en route to Camp Ramadi when his Humvee hit a roadside bomb.

He was not expected to survive, but he was transported to Germany and then to Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas, which has the U.S. military's top burns unit.

He spent nine months in intensive care and underwent more than 100 operations.

German moved out of the hospital into his own home after 17 months of treatment.

He founded Merlin's Miracles, a charity that aims "to assist burned children and their families to take vacations, trips, outings or anything the families needed to make life a little easier," according to its Web site.

German died April 11 at Brooke Army Medical Center of complications after surgery.

"He beat all odds and then on top of that continued to serve as an inspiration and motivator for others," said Dr. Evan Renz, a critical-care surgeon who treated German.

"It is very difficult to describe the sense of loss. He endeared himself to all he came in contact with. It's really impossible to describe, except to say: Imagine the loss of dear family or friend."

Renz remembers being impressed with German from the start.

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"This young man was clearly showing us signs he was going to fight through this from the very first minute," he said.

"There was consensus he was going to be a someone who would probably break some of the previous expectations about survivability. If someone was going to survive, he was going to be that individual." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Barbara Starr and Larry Shaugnessy contributed to this report.

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