UPDATE: Woman who took diet pills dies of liver failure

Published: Oct. 2, 2013 at 11:06 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 9, 2013 at 9:12 PM HST
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A woman who was suffering from liver failure after taking a diet supplement died Friday at the Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu.  

Sonnette Marras' family says she took the diet supplement OxyElite Pro just weeks before becoming violently ill.  The 48-year old's condition deteriorated rapidly and she was put in a medically induced coma last week.

The State Dept. of Health is investigating dozens of cases of people who got sick after taking either OxyElite Pro or another supplement that has not been named. The cases range from acute hepatitis to liver failure. Marras is the first person connected to the investigation to die.

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - [Original Story]

"I'm going to lose my best friend," says Michael Soriano as he holds his toddler.  "She's the backbone of this family."

Soriano's wife, Sonette Marras is in a medically induced coma at The Queen's Medical Center.  The 48-year old Maui woman is suffering from liver failure.

"She was healthy as a horse," says her son, Ronden Smith-Marras.   He says she just wanted to lose weight.  So this summer, she started taking OxyElite Pro, a diet supplement.  After several weeks, Smith-Marras says his mother got violently ill.

"Nausea, vomiting, she would eat, then throw up," says Smith-Marras.  His mother was flown to Oahu.

The State Department of Health is investigating dozens of cases of people suffering from liver injuries after taking weight loss supplements.  The cases range from acute hepatitis, to severe liver failure.  At least one person has had a transplant and several others are on the waiting list.

OxyElite Pro isn't the only supplement that the patients took before getting sick.  There is at least one other, but the Department of Health won't reveal the name of that supplement.

And it's unclear if an ingredient in the supplements is to blame or a combination of factors.

Another mystery, why the cases are only in Hawaii.  Did Hawaii get a bad batch?  These are all questions the health department and the FDA are looking into.  The investigation could take weeks, even months and slowing things down, the government shutdown.   The FDA is experiencing delays because of it.

Marras' family was told she has only a week to live.   They were hoping she would could get a liver transplant, but during the screening process, doctors found a lump in her breast.  Tests confirm, she has cancer and can no longer be added to the list.

"That's it, they giving up on her,"  says her husband.  "I don't want to accept that."

Marras has seven children.  The oldest is 26 years old, the youngest, a toddler, 13 months.   Her family says Marras beat the odds by having a healthy baby last year at age 47.  They hope she can do it again.

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