Few moms had a cooler ring tone than the one Donda West scored when her Grammy-winning son Kanye released his song “Hey Mama”: “I appreciate what you allowed for me,” he rapped. “I just want you to be proud of me.” Of course she was. West, who raised Kanye as a single mother in Chicago, told PEOPLE in May, “This is his time.” Today, Kanye, 30, is reeling from Donda’s sudden death Nov. 10 at age 58 following plastic surgery in Los Angeles. While results from a coroner’s report aren’t expected for another six to eight weeks, the spotlight has fallen on Dr. Jan Adams, 53, the Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who told TMZ.com that he performed a tummy tuck and breast reduction on West. After going home to recuperate, she was rushed to Centinela Freeman Regional Medical Center, where attempts to revive her were unsuccessful. (Adams told TMZ that the death was unforeseen and could have been caused by a heart attack, pulmonary embolism or massive vomiting.) Telegenic and outgoing, Adams—who hosted Discovery Health Channel’s Plastic Surgery: Before & After—also has a troubled side: three DUI arrests and a number of malpractice suits. The plaintiff in one case, Lori Ufondu, 38, claims he left a surgical sponge in her following a botched breast lift; she was awarded a default judgment in excess of $100,000.
Another L.A. plastic surgeon, Dr. Andre Aboolian, says when West consulted with him in June, he told her he couldn’t operate on her until she had the presurgical checkup that’s standard for patients over 40. “It’s a surgeon’s due diligence,” says Aboolian, who called West recently after she didn’t show for an appointment with an internist he recommended. “She said she was nervous, and I told her when she was ready we would do it.”
For now, West’s shocked family is grieving for the woman who was as accomplished as her son; a Ph.D., West was an English professor at Chicago State University for 24 years. Kanye “is really hurting,” says a source close to him. “He’s just lost.”