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Former Detroit Lions president Matt Millen battling amyloidosis, may need heart transplant

PROVO, UT - SEPTEMBER 20: Matt Millen, an ESPN analyst, on field before the game between the Virginia Cavaliers and the Brigham Young Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium on September 20, 2014 in Provo, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images )
PROVO, UT - SEPTEMBER 20: Matt Millen, an ESPN analyst, on field before the game between the Virginia Cavaliers and the Brigham Young Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium on September 20, 2014 in Provo, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images ) (Getty Images)

DETROIT – Former Detroit Lions CEO Matt Millen is suffering from a rare disease that might force him to seek a heart transplant.

Millen, who returned to sports broadcasting after his departure from Detroit in 2008, told The Morning Call that he's battling amyloidosis.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Amyloidosis (am-uh-loi-DO-sis) is a rare disease that occurs when a substance called amyloid builds up in your organs. Amyloid is an abnormal protein that is produced in your bone marrow and can be deposited in any tissue or organ.

Amyloidosis can affect different organs in different people, and there are different types of amyloid. Amyloidosis frequently affects the heart, kidneys, liver, spleen, nervous system and digestive tract. Severe amyloidosis can lead to life-threatening organ failure. There's no cure for amyloidosis. 

Millen told the paper the disease is attacking his heart.

According to the paper, Millen's heart is working at around 30 percent of capacity, and he is believed to eventually need a heart transplant. Millen has been undergoing chemotherapy once a week for the past eight months. 

Millen was diagnosed last summer after years with chest pain. "I know what you have, and you're not going to like it," Millen said the doctors told him, according to The Morning Call.

Millen spent seven years as the CEO and de facto general manager of the Detroit Lions, between 2001 and 2008.


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