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Former US vice president Dick Cheney receives heart transplant

The former vice president of the United States has had a long history of heart problems and had been on the transplant list for 20 months.

Image: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

FORMER US VICE president Dick Cheney has had a heart transplant, his office has confirmed.

The 71-year-old, who has a long history of heart problems, received the transplant on Saturday and is now recovering in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Virginia.

Cheney had been on the transplant list for 20 months. He has not been told the identity of the donor.

“Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this livesaving gift,” the statement said.

Cheney spent almost two years on the waiting list for a new heart. The average waiting time for a new organ is six months to a year, the New York Times reports.

Over 3,100 Americans are currently on the waiting list for a heart transplant with just over 2,300 transplants carried out in 2011, according to the Associated Press.

The vice president during the George W Bush administration has suffered five heart attacks, the first when he was just 37 years old.

Last year he published a book “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir” about his time in politics over the past forty years.

- Additional reporting by the Associated Press

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