One of Taiwan’s first separated conjoined twins dies aged 42

TAIPEI (CNA) – One of Taiwan’s first conjoined twins, who was successfully separated from his brother 40 years ago, died of a brain hemorrhage Friday, according to his family.

Chang Chung-jen (張忠仁), 42, the older of the conjoined twins, collapsed Thursday at work and died early the next morning, his family said.

In 1979, Chang and his brother Chang Chung-i (張忠義) were Taiwan’s first and the world’s fourth conjoined twins to be successfully separated.

According to Chang Chung-jen’s most recent post on Facebook, he had been planning to improve his delivery skills for public speaking so that he could share his story with more people in 2019, the 40th anniversary of the twins’ separation.

“I will go on living for my brother,” Chang Chung-i told CNA Friday, adding that the twins were stand-ins for each other’s work and took care of one another all the time.

Chen Wei-jao (陳維昭), the medical convener of the twins’ surgery who was in charge of their postoperative care, said Friday that Chang Chung-jen’s death was unexpected because no anomalies were found in a recent medical examination.

Chen said that the twins were expected to live only until their twenties based on pre-operative assessment, but they turned out to live lives as normal people do.

The doctor said Chang’s brain hemorrhage might be caused by physical exhaustion, as he devoted himself to charity and had been traveling around for years to share his stories and express his gratitude to Taiwan society, which donated more than NT$7 million (US$228,000) to help raise the twins to adulthood.

By Chen I-hsuan, Chen Wei-ting, Chiang Pei-ling and Chi Jo-yao