The man who held the Guinness World Record for longest surviving heart transplant patient died Tuesday, 33 years after his life-saving operation.

John McCafferty, 73, underwent the transplant on October 20, 1982 at Harefield Hospital in west London, BBC News reported. At 39, he was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition that leads to scarring of the heart wall and muscle damage. The heart becomes weakened and enlarged and is unable to pump efficiently.

McCafferty was originally told he'd have five years to live when he received the transplant.

His widow, Ann, was by his side when the Buckinghamshire man died at Milton Keynes University Hospital.

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"The last 30 years we had together were brilliant,” she told BBC News. “We've traveled the world.”

In 2013, McCafferty was officially recognized by Guinness World Records.

"I want this world record to be an inspiration to anyone awaiting a heart transplant and to those who, like me, have been fortunate enough to have had one,” he said at the time.

John and Ann celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in October.

In 1967, doctors in South Africa performed the first-ever successful heart transplant operation. The patient, Louis Washkansky survived 18 days with the new heart.