'Miracle Marine' Dead After 3-Year Struggle

Struck by roadside bomb, he endured 100+ surgeries
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2008 4:00 PM CDT
In this Nov. 7, 2007 file photo, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre, left, poses with U.S. Marine Sgt. Merlin German.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A Marine who endured burns on 97% of his body with good humor and hope has died during routine surgery, USA Today reports. Hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq, Sgt. Merlin German walked, talked, and even danced during his 3-year recovery. Undergoing more than 100 surgeries, he became a symbol of resilience and started a charity for burned kids called "Merlin's Miracles."

"Early on, he thought, 'This is ridiculous. Why am I doing this? Why am I working so hard?"' said Lt. Col. Evan Renz, German's friend and surgeon. "But every month or so, he'd say, 'I've licked it.' He was amazingly positive overall. He never complained. He'd just dig in and do it."