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Boy who was mini Darth Vader in VW ad has heart surgery

By Jack Maddox, CNN
updated 9:00 AM EDT, Fri June 15, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Max Page, 7, has surgery to correct heart problem
  • Doctor says he is recovering well
  • Max is known for donning Darth Vader costume in a car ad

(CNN) -- Max Page, the 7-year-old who played a mini Darth Vader in a Volkswagen commercial, is recovering from open heart surgery, his doctor and mother said Thursday.

Max Page: Meet the face behind the Force

"Max is out of surgery and he's doing well," said his surgeon, Dr. Vaughn Starnes at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles. "Max is in the cardiac ICU and recovering very well." Max underwent the surgery to replace a pulmonary heart valve.

Max's mother, Jennifer Page, described the recovery to CNN in an e-mail as "a very frightening place. In the beginning stages it is filled with beeps, tubes and strange terminology." She asked for payers for Max to begin to wake up and to have as little pain as possible, adding that, "He hurts, can't have water and is disoriented."

Max's family waited in the lounge next door during surgery, his mother said, adding that his younger brother Els made him a special recovery pillow and offered a silent prayer by Max's side once the operation was complete.

Max is known for playing the role of a mini Darth Vader character who goes around his parents' house trying to use "the Force" on various household items without much success. He eventually tries his luck on his parents' car, and much to his surprise, it starts. Well, with a little help from the remote start fob one of his parents uses from inside the house.

Max was born with tetralogy of fallot, a congenital heart defect that in this case affected the function of his pulmonary valve, which helps the flow of blood through the heart. After a number of measures to preserve his pulmonary valve, doctor's replaced it with a porcine valve that should last 10-15 years, according to the Children's Hospital website.

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