Max Page, the boy who played Darth Vader in a popular Volkswagen Super Bowl commercial, successfully came through open-heart surgery Thursday and is on the road to recovery.
“The surgery went very well,” Dr. Vaughn Starnes, the cardiothoracic surgeon who performed the two-hour operation at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, said in a press release Thursday. “Max is in the cardiac ICU and recovering very well.”
The brave 7-year-old is expected to remain hospitalized for the next three or four days before going home for six weeks of recuperation.
Born with a congenital heart defect, Max has undergone several operations, including Thursday’s surgery to replace a pulmonary valve. The new, small adult-sized valve, porcine manufactured, should last 10 to 15 years, according to Dr. Starnes.
Max’s mother, Jennifer Page, said in a statement that her boy – who has had recurring roles on The Young and the Restless and Prime Suspect – put on a brave face while he was sitting in an exam room with brother Els and their parents before the operation.
“Max wanted to hold his brother’s hand and Max said, ‘It’s okay, I’m not scared,’ ” said Jennifer. “He just wanted to hold our hands and his stuffed animals. He went in much calmer than we were.”
The evening before the surgery, “Max spent all night making us laugh,” his father, Buck Page, said Thursday. “Even this morning, while he was laying there waiting for this, he kept telling us everything is going to be fine.”
The hospital statement says Buck was fighting back tears. “He’s special,” Buck went on to say. “He was looking at something of this magnitude and he had the interest of everyone else. I want to thank everyone for their concern.”
On Friday morning, Jennifer Page told the Today show in an e-mail, “Max is awake at times, talking, and looking forward to going home.”
By Liz Raftery