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Memorial service held for former conjoined twin

2019/02/19 14:31:25

Taipei, Feb. 19 (CNA) A memorial service was held Tuesday for Chang Chung-jen (張忠仁), one of the conjoined twins who were the first in Taiwan to be successfully separated 40 years ago. He died of a brain hemorrhage on Feb. 2.

When Chang and his brother Chang Chung-i (張忠義) were separated in 1979 after a 12-hour surgery that left each of them with only one leg, it was only the fourth time conjoined twins had been separated anywhere in the world.

Chang Chung-jen, 42, collapsed at work on Feb. 1 and died early the next morning, his family said.

A memorial concert for him was held Tuesday at the First Funeral Parlor in Taipei, and it was attended by several political figures and celebrities, including Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊) and former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

A choked-up Chang Chung-i sobbed that although Chung-jen passed away, "his love will be always with us," and he pledged to continue to spread that love by delivering speeches on his brother's behalf.

He also expressed affection for his brother, saying: "I really miss you, really miss you very much."

Chang Chung-i recalled that when a magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit Taiwan on Sept. 21, 1999, Chung-jen fell on him and told him not to be afraid, saying it was something he could not get out of his head.

Chung-jen's hobby was painting, and the Chang brothers had intended to hold a painting and photography exhibition to mark the 40th anniversary of their successful separation this year, according to Chung-i, who said he will work hard to fulfill the dream.

Former National Taiwan University (NTU) President Chen Wei-chao (陳維昭), who oversaw the twins' surgery and was in charge of their postoperative care, said the vitality displayed by the brothers went beyond anything that could have been imagined.

He expressed admiration for the brothers, who gave speeches around Taiwan to encourage disadvantaged people to build better lives.

(By Liang Pei-chi and Evelyn Kao)