LA Galaxy defender AJ DeLaGarza's newborn son dies from heart defect
Luca DeLaGarza, the newborn son of LA Galaxy defender AJ DeLaGarza, has passed away after a battle with a heart defect, the player and club confirmed on Friday.
Luca DeLaGarza was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, which caused a number of structures on the left side of the heart to not develop correctly and prevented blood from being pumped properly through the body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4,344 babies are born with the defect every year in the United States. Luca had been on life support but had to be taken off of it in preparation for his second heart surgery in his one week of life. He passed away Thursday before the surgery was able to be conducted.
Luca's battle – his condition had been known since May – had inspired a "Luca Knows Heart" campaign that spread throughout the U.S. Soccer community, with fans, teammates, colleagues and more showering the DeLaGarza family with support for Luca's fight.
The Galaxy play the Colorado Rapids Friday night and will hold a moment of silence prior to the match. Fans are also encouraged to stand and applaud in the 20th minute – AJ DeLaGarza wears No. 20 – to honor Luca's memory. The University of Maryland, where AJ played collegiately, is also expected to hold a moment of silence at Friday's men's soccer match against University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Luca is survived by AJ and his wife, Megan. As AJ wrote in a tweet to make the announcement: "Heaven gained another angel yesterday."