Tragic Bond Links Heart Donor, Recipient

Men married same woman, committed suicide 12 years apart

By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User

Posted Apr 7, 2008 4:16 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Georgia man who took his own life last week had lived 12 years after receiving a transplanted heart from a South Carolina man who also committed suicide, police said. And in a twist worthy of Edgar Allan Poe, the donor's widow had met and married the recipient, the Hilton Head Island Packet reports.

Terry Cottle died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1995, when Sonny Graham was on the verge of succumbing to congestive heart failure. Graham received Cottle's heart and later got in touch with his family to express his thanks. He and Cheryl Cottle met in 1997 and married in 2004. "I felt like I had known her for years," he said later.

Terry Cottle's heart was transplanted into Sonny Graham 12 years ago.
Terry Cottle's heart was transplanted into Sonny Graham 12 years ago.   (Shutterstock)
Terry Cottle and Sonny Graham both died of self-inflicted gun wounds.
Terry Cottle and Sonny Graham both died of self-inflicted gun wounds.
Diagram of a heart transplant, with the donor organ at center.
Diagram of a heart transplant, with the donor organ at center.   (Wikimedia Commons)
Terry Cottle's heart was transplanted into Sonny Graham.
Terry Cottle's heart was transplanted into Sonny Graham.   (Wikimedia Commons)
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