Kanye West Lost His Mother Donda 12 Years Ago after Complications Arose Following Plastic Surgery Procedures

Donda West, the mother of controversial rapper Kanye West, passed away in November 2007 after undergoing two plastic surgeries, leaving his son devastated at the sudden loss. 

Donda West was born on July 12, 1949, in Oklahoma City. She was an English professor with a bachelor's degree from Virginia Union University and a Ph.D. from Auburn University.

Donda West and Kanye West attend a book signing for her book "Raising Kanye" on May 9, 2007 | Photo: GettyImages

Donda West and Kanye West attend a book signing for her book "Raising Kanye" on May 9, 2007 | Photo: GettyImages

DONDA'S LIFE AND CAREER

She married Ray West, a former Black Panther and the first black photojournalist for the Atlanta Journal Newspaper and welcome one son, Kanye, in 1977. However, the couple divorced when Kanye was 3-year-old, and he and Donda moved to Chicago.

There, Donda took a job at Chicago State University and soon climbed positions until she became the chairwoman of the Department of English and Speech at the university.

In April 2018, Kanye took to Twitter to share his plans of using a photo of Dr. Adams as the cover of his upcoming album. He wanted it to be a token of forgiveness. 

Kanye West and Donda prior to signing copies of 'Raising Kanye: Life Lessons From The Mother Of A Hip-Hop Superstar' at Waterstones on June 30, 2007 | Photo: GettyImages

Kanye West and Donda prior to signing copies of 'Raising Kanye: Life Lessons From The Mother Of A Hip-Hop Superstar' at Waterstones on June 30, 2007 | Photo: GettyImages

She worked in the department for six years, before going back to teaching. Then, when Kanye was 10, they moved to Beijing, China, where Donda was teaching at Nanjing University as part of an exchange program.

Talking about her experience raising Kanye in her 2007 book "Raising Kanye: Life Lessons From the Mother of a Hip-Hop Superstar," Donda explained that despite being a single mother, she and her son had a good life.

"Like my mother, we could stretch a dime," she said. "We had such a full and rich lifestyle when we didn't have a lot. There were benefits to being a university professor."

Kanye West and Donda West at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards on February 8, 2006 | Photo: GettyImages

Kanye West and Donda West at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards on February 8, 2006 | Photo: GettyImages

In 2004, after 24 years of working as an educator, Donda retired and started working with her son. She was the CEO of West Brands, the parent company of Kanye's business, and also the co-founder of the Kanye West Foundation.

HER TRAGIC DEATH

On November 9, 2007, Donda underwent three different cosmetic surgeries: liposuction, a tummy tuck, and a breast reduction at the hands of Dr. Jan Adams. 

Adams has stated that nothing went wrong with the procedures, and West was "able to walk out of the clinic after 5 1/2 hours of surgery, heavily bandaged, and prescribed Vicodin for pain."

Kanye West and his mother Donda West attend the Kanye West and Creative Artist Agency Foundation launch of the Kanye West Foundation for music education in the schools, February 10, 2005 | Photo: GettyImages

Kanye West and his mother Donda West attend the Kanye West and Creative Artist Agency Foundation launch of the Kanye West Foundation for music education in the schools, February 10, 2005 | Photo: GettyImages

"Don’t put my picture out there and pretend you are about love. Love deals with the truth." - Jan Adams.

She was advised to receive post-operation care at a professional facility, but Donda insisted on going home, claiming that an experienced nurse, her nephew Stephan Scoggins, would take care of her.

Adams claims that Scoggins took care of Donda for one night only, and the following day left her home to attend a baby shower. That same day, Donda reportedly said she had a sore throat and tight chest. She collapsed in the evening.

Kanye West's mother, Donda West, attends her son's Birthday Party at Bulgari June 8, 2005 | Photo: GettyImages

Kanye West's mother, Donda West, attends her son's Birthday Party at Bulgari June 8, 2005 | Photo: GettyImages

A friend that was with her at the house called 911 after realizing Donda was unresponsive. She was rushed to the hospital but pronounced dead in the emergency room.

WHO'S TO BLAME?

Initially, the West family's statement on Donda's death claimed she had passed away due to complications from cosmetic surgeries.

But according to the Los Angeles County Coroner's report, Donda's cause of death was "coronary artery disease and multiple post-operative factors due to or as a consequence of liposuction and mammoplasty." 

Dr. Jan Adams, the plastic surgeon who operated on Kanye West's mother Donda West the day before she died, leaves Larry King Live Studio after the interview November 20, 2007 | Photo: GettyImages

Dr. Jan Adams, the plastic surgeon who operated on Kanye West's mother Donda West the day before she died, leaves Larry King Live Studio after the interview November 20, 2007 | Photo: GettyImages

However, an autopsy couldn't determine the exact contribution of each factor, and "there was no evidence of a surgical or anesthetic misadventure." 

Dr. Jan Adams faced scrutiny for years and his practice went out of business thanks to the bad press and reputation he got after Donda's passing, which he claims wasn't his fault but Kanye's Cousin, Stephan Scoggins, responsibility.

FORGIVE AND FORGET

In April 2018, Kanye took to Twitter to share his plans of using a photo of Dr. Adams as the cover of his upcoming album. He wanted it to be a token of forgiveness. 

Kanye West looks on as he watches as the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Utah Jazz at Staples Center on April 13, 2016 | Photo: GettyImages

Kanye West looks on as he watches as the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Utah Jazz at Staples Center on April 13, 2016 | Photo: GettyImages

However, Dr. Adams send West a public cease and desist letter, asking him not to use his photo to promote his album or any of his work.

“Don’t put my picture out there and pretend you are about love. Love deals with the truth," Adams wrote

Kanye West at the Versace fall 2019 fashion show on Dec. 02, 2018 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

Kanye West at the Versace fall 2019 fashion show on Dec. 02, 2018 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

And continued:

"Over the past 10 years, I have tolerated all the errors, misinformation and lies told by reporters, journalists and people on the street out of respect for the doctor-patient privilege and your mother.”

After reading the letter, West replied to Adams saying: "This is amazing. Thank you so much for this connection brother. I can’t wait to sit with you and start healing.”

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