Margi Coats knew her son was dying. "I stayed awake holding his hand all night with my heart pounding, waiting for him to take his last breath," she says of 18-year-old Nick's final hours. "It's the most frightening thing in the world for a mother." And also for a twin. Identical twins Nick and Devin Coats of Louisiana were together diagnosed with stage four cirrhosis of the liver early last year—the cause was a genetic mutation, per the family's GoFundMe page—but had to wait for their conditions to worsen before they could be put on a liver transplant list, their mother tells ABC News. While Nick waited, however, he developed a rare cancer, hepatic angiosarcoma, and began chemotherapy, which prevented him from getting a new liver, as Devin did this past January.
Devin was reluctant to take the liver, wanting his brother to have it instead, but Nick wasn't well enough, Margi says. By February, doctors believed he'd recovered, but the cancer was then found to have metastasized. "It was an inoperable condition at that point," Margi tells People. Nick died Sunday. Devin "will look for Nick and the realization will hit him hard," Margi writes on Facebook. She's sharing the twins' story in the hope of inspiring future organ donors. A reported 20 people die each day waiting for an organ, and Margi believes that if Nick could have gotten one upon his liver cirrhosis diagnosis, the cancer would never have developed. "You have to get sick enough in order to get better and it shouldn’t be that way," she says. "When you go in the ground, you're in the ground. Extend your loved one's life in somebody else." (These Good Samaritan twins met with tragedy.)