It was not clear whether Todd Krampitz, who died Wednesday, succumbed to liver cancer, transplant-related complications or some other cause, the Houston Chronicle reported in Tuesday's editions. Family members, who did not return calls seeking information, thanked supporters in a statement.
The family said Krampitz, 32, donated his corneas for transplantation.
Krampitz was suffering from liver cancer when he made his appeal in the summer of 2004, which led to his transplant that August. The family of a dead man had heard about Krampitz and opted to donate the dead man's liver directly to him.
Critics said Krampitz's transplant might have diverted a liver from a patient in greater need. Supporters argued that the family that donated the liver might not have donated anything at all without the media attention.
"We hope his story has heightened awareness of the dire need for organ donation," said Sherrill Lanthier, director of the Multiorgan Transplant Center at The Methodist Hospital, where Krampitz received his transplant. "While we don't condone advertising for an organ we feel that transplanting Todd was the right thing to do for him."