Pitbull Sends Plane For Puerto Rico Cancer Patients

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Rapper Pitbull sent his private plane to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico to transport cancer patients in need of chemotherapy to the U.S. mainland.

Hurricane Maria, which smashed into the Caribbean island on Sept. 20 as a Category 4 hurricane, has created a humanitarian crisis, reports The Weather Channel.

The storm killed at least 18 in Puerto Rico, and 47 across the Caribbean.

On Sept. 26, FEMA Administrator Brock Long announced that 16 ships from the Navy and Coast Guard have already arrived in Puerto Rico, and 10 more are on the way.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose state is home to the nation's largest Puerto Rican population, traveled to the devastated island to assess the damage.

He announced that New York would be sending supplies and assistance, including National Guard personnel, Black Hawk helicopters, state troopers and donated supplies of water, ready-to-eat meals, canned goods, flashlights, cots, blankets and pillows and electrical generators.

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Puerto Rico has mass power outages, and almost one-half the residents do not have access to drinking water, CNN reports.

As of Sept. 27, only 11 of the territory's 69 hospitals had fuel and power.

At a hospital in the capital city of San Juan, two patients died in an intensive care unit after its emergency generator ran out of diesel, Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz said.

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Children at San Jorge Children's Hospital continue to depend on generators and batteries to keep their ventilators running.  

"Thank God we're blessed to help," said Pitbull in a statement. "Just doing my part."

Republican Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez of Puerto Rico thanked the rapper via Twitter.

"Thank you [Pitbull] for lending your private plane to transport cancer patients from PR to the USA so they can get chemo," she wrote.

Born Armando Christian Perez, 36-year-old Pitbull has sold more than 70 million singles, had No. 1 hits in more than 15 countries, more than 67 million digital downloads, more than 9 billion YouTube views, and has over 22 million Twitter followers and 59 million followers on Facebook, reports Vanity Fair.

Other celebrities have also donated to Puerto Rico relief efforts, according to Billboard. For example, entertainer Jennifer Lopez donated $1 million, and pop star Ricky Martin set up his own YouCaring crowdfunding page to collect donations.

Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, has also sent a private plane, with the team's Puerto Rican point guard J.J. Barea aboard, reports the Daily Mail.  

"They loaded up a bunch of stuff, supplies, etc. to take over to Puerto Rico, and they're going to turn around and come back," coach Rick Carlisle told ESPN, reports the Daily Mail. "He's going to take his mom and grandmother back with him, and my understanding is his dad is going to stay over there and slug it out with all the recovery efforts."

Sources: CNN, Daily Mail, Billboard, Vanity Fair, The Weather Channel / Featured Image: Eva Rinaldi/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Pitbull/Twitter, Mavs Moneyball/Twitter

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