SHOW MORE 

El Puma wants to raise awareness about organ donation after miracle surgery saves his life

Venezuelan superstar struggled with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis for 14 years

MIAMI – Venezuelan superstar Jose Luis Rodriguez has never felt more alive.

"It's like I came from death to life. It's a real miracle," he said. 

It's been six months since Rodriguez, known around the world as El Puma, was given a new lease on life at age 75. 

"Thank God, I'm breathing," he said. "Thanks for the air. Thanks for the water. Thanks for the food. Wow."

El Puma's heart is filled with gratitude. For 14 years, he struggled with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis -- a condition that caused his lungs to progressively scar and left him gasping for breath.

"I was really desperate," he said. "You know, every day, fighting to breathe. Wow. It was too hard, man. Too hard."

El Puma's only hope for life was a risky double lung transplant.

"Did you ever think during that moment that that breath could be your last?" Local 10's Louis Aguirre asked.


About the Author: